• Cleo L Crunelle
  • Delphine Cappelle
  • Michel Yegles
  • Mireille De Doncker
  • Peter Michielsen
  • Geert Dom
  • Alexander L N van Nuijs
  • Kristof E Maudens
  • Adrian Covaci
  • Hugo Neels

Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a minor phase II metabolite of alcohol that accumulates in hair. It has been established as a sensitive marker to assess the retrospective consumption of alcohol over recent months using a cut-off of ≥7 pg/mg hair to assess repeated alcohol consumption. The primary aim was to assess whether amounts of alcohol consumed correlated with EtG concentrations in hair. Additionally, we investigated whether the current applied cut-off value of 7 pg/mg hair was adequate to assess the regular consumption of low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol. A prospective controlled alcohol-dosing study in 30 healthy individuals matched on age and gender. Individuals were instructed to drink no alcohol (N = 10), 100 g alcohol per week (N = 10) or 150 g alcohol per week (N = 10) for 12 consecutive weeks, before and after which hair was collected. Throughout the study, compliance to daily alcohol consumption was assessed by analyzing urine EtG three times weekly. Participants in the non-drinking group had median EtG concentrations of 0.5 pg/mg hair (interquartile range (IQR) 1.7 pg/mg; range < 0.21-4.5 pg/mg). Participants consuming 100 and 150 g alcohol per week showed median EtG concentrations of 5.6 pg/mg hair (IQR 4.7 pg/mg; range 2.0-9.8 pg/mg) and 11.3 pg/mg hair (IQR 5.0 pg/mg; range 7.7-38.9 pg/mg), respectively. Hair EtG concentrations between the three study groups differed significantly from one another (p < 0.001). Hair EtG concentrations can be used to differentiate between repeated (low-to-moderate) amounts of alcohol consumed over a long time period. For the assessment of repeated alcohol use, we propose that the current cut-off of 7 pg/mg could be re-evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2019-2025
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Adult, Aged, Alcohol Drinking, Ethanol, Female, Glucuronates, Hair, Healthy Volunteers, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Young Adult, Journal Article

ID: 38876093