International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 129, Issue 5, pp 1005–1010 | Cite as

Influence of Gilbert’s syndrome on the formation of ethyl glucuronide

  • Laura M. Huppertz
  • Leonie Gunsilius
  • Christelle Lardi
  • Wolfgang Weinmann
  • Annette Thierauf-EmbergerEmail author
Original Article


A drinking experiment with participants suffering from Gilbert’s syndrome was performed to study the possible influence of this glucuronidation disorder on the formation of ethyl glucuronide (EtG). Gilbert’s syndrome is a rather common and, in most cases, asymptomatic congenital metabolic aberration with a prevalence of about 5 %. It is characterized by a reduction of the enzyme activity of the uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) isoform 1A1 up to 80 %. One of the glucuronidation products is EtG, which is formed in the organism following exposure to ethanol. EtG is used as a short-term marker for ethyl alcohol consumption to prove abstinence in various settings. After 2 days of abstinence from ethanol and giving a void urine sample, 30 study participants drank 0.1 L of sparkling wine (9 g ethanol). 3, 6, 12, and 24 h after drinking, urine samples were collected. 3 hours after drinking, an additional blood sample was taken, in which liver enzyme activities, ethanol, hematological parameters, and bilirubin were measured. EtG and ethyl sulfate (EtS), another short-term marker of ethanol consumption, were determined in the urine samples using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS); creatinine was measured photometrically. In all participants, EtG and EtS were detected in concentrations showing a wide range (EtG: 3 h sample 0.5–18.43 mg/L and 6 h sample 0.67–13.8 mg/L; EtS: 3 h sample 0.87–6.87 mg/L and 6 h sample 0.29–4.48 mg/L). No evidence of impaired EtG formation was found. Thus, EtG seems to be a suitable marker for ethanol consumption even in individuals with Gilbert’s syndrome.


Ethyl glucuronide Ethyl sulfate Gilbert’s syndrome Uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase 



The authors would like to thank the Bund gegen Alkohol und Drogen im Straßenverkehr B.A.D.S. for the financial support of the drinking experiment.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Huppertz
    • 1
  • Leonie Gunsilius
    • 1
  • Christelle Lardi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Weinmann
    • 3
  • Annette Thierauf-Emberger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Forensic MedicineFreiburg University Medical CenterFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.University Center for Legal MedicineGeneva University HospitalsGeneva 4Switzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Forensic MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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