Phosphatidylethanol: normalization during detoxification, gender aspects and correlation with other biomarkers and self-reports

Wurst, Friedrich Martin; Thon, Natasha; Aradottir, Steina; Hartmann, Susanne; Wiesbeck, Gerhard Adam; Lesch, Otto; Skala, Katrin; Wolfersdorf, Manfred; Weinmann, Wolfgang; Alling, Christer (2010). Phosphatidylethanol: normalization during detoxification, gender aspects and correlation with other biomarkers and self-reports. Addiction biology, 15(1), pp. 88-95. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2009.00185.x

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Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a direct ethanol metabolite, and has recently attracted attention as biomarker of ethanol intake. The aims of the current study are: (1) to characterize the normalization time of PEth in larger samples than previously conducted; (2) to elucidate potential gender differences; and (3) to report the correlation of PEth with other biomarkers and self-reported alcohol consumption. Fifty-seven alcohol-dependent patients (ICD 10 F 10.25; 9 females, 48 males) entering medical detoxification at three study sites were enrolled. The study sample was comprised of 48 males and 9 females, with mean age 43.5. Mean gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) was 209.61 U/l, average mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was 97.35 fl, mean carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT) was 8.68, and mean total ethanol intake in the last 7 days was 1653 g. PEth was measured in heparinized whole blood with a high-pressure liquid chromatography method, while GGT, MCV and %CDT were measured using routine methods. PEth levels at day 1 of detoxification ranged between 0.63 and 26.95 micromol/l (6.22 mean, 4.70 median, SD 4.97). There were no false negatives at day 1. Sensitivities for the other biomarkers were 40.4% for MCV, 73.1% for GGT and 69.2% for %CDT, respectively. No gender differences were found for PEth levels at any time point. Our data suggest that PEth is (1) a suitable intermediate term marker of ethanol intake in both sexes; and (2) sensitivity is extraordinary high in alcohol dependent patients. The results add further evidence to the data that suggest that PEth has potential as a candidate for a sensitive and specific biomarker, which reflects longer-lasting intake of higher amounts of alcohol and seemingly has the above mentioned certain advantages over traditional biomarkers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology

UniBE Contributor:

Weinmann, Wolfgang








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:11

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 19:12

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URI: (FactScience: 203706)

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