, Volume 394, Issue 7, pp 1895-1901
Date: 12 Jun 2009

Determination of ethyl-glucuronide in hair for heavy drinking detection using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry following solid-phase extraction

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Abstract

The detection of ethyl-β-d-6-glucuronide (EtG), a stable phase II metabolite of ethanol, is of interest in both clinical and forensic contexts with the aim of monitoring alcohol abuse. We present a liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry method for the detection and quantification of EtG in hair. Thirty milligrams of washed and cut hair were cleaned up using solid-phase extraction graphite cartridges. Separation was then performed using an Uptisphere-3SI column, and the detection was operated in the negative mode. After validation, the method was applied to hair samples taken from four fatalities (F) with documented excessive drinking habits, 12 heavy drinkers (HD) and seven social drinkers (SD). The method exhibits limits of detection and quantification of 4 and 10 pg/mg, respectively. Intra- and inter-assay standard deviation and relative bias were less than 20% over the calibrating range (10 to 3,000 pg/mg). EtG hair concentrations in SD were <10 pg/mg and >50 pg/mg for F and HD (range, 54 to 497 pg/mg). The present assay appears convenient to carry out owing to the very small quantity of hair samples required to determine an effective heavy alcohol consumption (EtG hair concentration >50 pg/mg).