Biomarkers of Alcohol Consumption in Body Fluids - Possibilities and Limitations of Application in Toxicological Analysis

(E-pub Ahead of Print)

Author(s): Mateusz K. Woźniak*, Marek Wiergowski, Jacek Namieśnik, Marek Biziuk.

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry


Ethyl alcohol is the most popular legal drug, but its excessive consumption causes social problems. Despite many public campaigns against alcohol use, car accidents, instances of aggressive behaviour, sexual assaults and deterioration in labor productivity caused by inebriated people is still commonplace. Fast and easy diagnosis of alcohol consumption is required in order to introduce proper and effective therapy, and is crucial in forensic toxicology analysis. The easiest method to prove alcohol intake is determination of ethanol in body fluids or in breath. However, since ethanol is rapidly metabolized in the human organism, only recent consumption can be detected using this method. Because of that, the determination of alcohol biomarkers was introduced for monitoring alcohol consumption over a wider range of time. The markers described in this article are ethanol, its non-oxidative metabolites (ethyl glucuronide, ethyl sulfate, phosphatidylethanol, ethyl phosphate, fatty acid ethyl esters) and oxidative metabolites (acetaldehyde and acetaldehyde adducts). The objective of this study is to review published studies focusing on the sample preparation methods and chromatographic or biochemical techniques for the determination of alcohol biomarkers in whole blood, plasma, serum and urine. Authors also described issues concerning the detection window of these biomarkers, and possibilities and limitations of their use in routine analytical toxicology for monitoring alcohol consumption or sobriety during alcohol therapy.

Keywords: Alcohol, alcohol dependence, analytical methods, biological markers, ethanol metabolites. 

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/0929867324666171005111911
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