Determination of the formation rate of phosphatidylethanol by phospholipase D (PLD) in blood and test of two selective PLD inhibitors.

Schröck, Alexandra; Henzi, Anna; Bütikofer, Peter; König, Stefan; Weinmann, Wolfgang (2018). Determination of the formation rate of phosphatidylethanol by phospholipase D (PLD) in blood and test of two selective PLD inhibitors. Alcohol, 73, pp. 1-7. Elsevier 10.1016/j.alcohol.2018.03.003

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Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is an alcohol biomarker formed from phosphatidylcholine (PC) by the enzyme phospholipase D (PLD) in the presence of ethanol. A drinking study revealed individual differences in maximum PEth levels after drinking to a targeted blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.1%. This seemed to be due to different PLD activities in the tested persons. Furthermore, post-sampling formation of PEth occurred in blood samples, still containing alcohol. Therefore, a standardized in vitro test for measuring individual PEth formation rates was developed. Two PLD inhibitors were tested for their potency to inhibit post-sampling PEth formation. PEth-negative blood samples were collected from a volunteer. Ethanol was added in different concentrations (0.01-0.3% BAC) directly after blood sampling. The specimens were incubated at 37 °C. Aliquots were taken at the start of the incubation, and every hour until 8 h after start of incubation, and one sample was taken on subsequent days over 1 week. PEth 16:0/18:1 and PEth 16:0/18:2 were determined by online SPE-LC-MS/MS. Furthermore, this test system was applied to blood samples of 12 volunteers. For the inhibition tests, fresh blood (spiked with 0.1% ethanol) was spiked with 30, 300, 3000, or 30,000 nM of either halopemide or 5-fluoro-2-indolyl-deschlorohalopemide (FIPI), and incubated at 37 °C. PEth concentrations were determined hourly over 5 h on the first day and once on day 2 and day 3. PEth formation was linear in the first 7 h of incubation and dependent on the alcohol concentration. The formation rates of PEth 16:0/18:1 were 0.002 μmol L h (0.01% BAC), 0.016 μmol L h (0.1% BAC), 0.025 μmol L h (0.2% BAC), and 0.029 μmol L h (0.3% BAC). For PEth 16:0/18:2, the formation rates were 0.002 μmol L h (0.01% BAC), 0.019 μmol L h (0.1% BAC), 0.025 μmol L h (0.2% BAC), and 0.030 μmol L h (0.3% BAC). Maximum concentrations reached 431 ng/mL (PEth 16:0/18:1) and 496 ng/mL (PEth 16:0/18:2) at 0.3% BAC after 3 days. Maximum velocity (v) was not reached under these conditions. PEth formation in blood of the 12 volunteers ranged between 0.011 and 0.025 μmol L h for PEth 16:0/18:1 and between 0.014 and 0.021 μmol L h for PEth 16:0/18:2. PEth formation in human blood was inhibited by halopemide in a concentration-dependent manner. However, a complete inhibition was not achieved by the applied maximum concentration of 30,000 nM. FIPI showed a better inhibition of PEth formation. A complete inhibition could be achieved by a concentration of 30,000 nM for the first 24 h (for PEth 16:0/18:1) and for 48 h (for PEth 16:0/18:2). Formation of PEth was found to be dependent on the BAC. As a consequence, it is essential to inhibit PLD activity after blood collection to avoid post-sampling formation of PEth in blood samples with a positive BAC. Inhibition of PEth formation was more effective using FIPI, compared to halopemide.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Schröck, Alexandra; Bütikofer, Peter; König, Stefan and Weinmann, Wolfgang


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

03 Sep 2018 11:51

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 07:17

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Alcohol biomarker Online SPE-LC-MS/MS PEth formation rate PLD inhibitors Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) Phospholipase D (PLD) activity




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