N-Acetyltaurine as a novel urinary ethanol marker in a drinking study

Luginbühl, Marc Joel; Rutjens, Sofie; König, Stefan; Furrer, Julien; Weinmann, Wolfgang (2016). N-Acetyltaurine as a novel urinary ethanol marker in a drinking study. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry, 408(26), pp. 7529-7536. Springer 10.1007/s00216-016-9855-7

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The forensic utility of N-acetyltaurine (NAcT) in urine as a marker for ethanol intake was examined. A HILIC-based liquid chromatography method for the mass spectrometric determination of NAcT, taurine, and creatinine in urine was developed and validated to investigate NAcT formation and elimination in a drinking study. Thereby, eight subjects ingested 0.66 to 0.84 g/kg alcohol to reach a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8 g/kg. Blood and urine were taken every 1.5-2 h, during the first 8 h. NAcT and taurine levels were measured and corrected for the urine's dilution by normalization to a creatinine concentration of 1 mg/mL. For the determination of NAcT and taurine, uncorrected lower limits of quantitation (LLOQs) were at 0.05 μg/mL of urine. In the drinking study, NAcT proved to be an endogenous compound, which is present at a range of 1.0 to 2.3 μg/mL in urine of alcohol-abstinent subjects. Maximum NAcT concentrations were reached in samples taken 3 to 6 h after the start of drinking, whereby an upregulation in N-acetyltaurine could be found for all the subjects. The mean peak concentrations (c̅ max) of 14 ± 2.6 μg/mL (range 9-17.5 μg/mL) were reached. Within 24 h, the NAcT levels declined to endogenous concentrations. The detectability of NAcT was found to be slightly shifted compared to BAC: When BAC was not detectable anymore, NAcT levels were still elevated. After 24 h, when ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and ethyl sulfate (EtS) were still detectable, NAcT concentrations showed endogenous levels again. Positive NAcT results can be used as an indicator for recent alcohol consumption. A direct relationship between NAcT and taurine concentrations could not be found. Graphical abstract N-acetyltaurine concentrations for eight subjects during the first 24 h after an alcohol consumption of 0.8 g/kg.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology

UniBE Contributor:

Luginbühl, Marc Joel, König, Stefan (A), Furrer, Julien, Weinmann, Wolfgang


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2016 09:17

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:35

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Abstinence monitoring; Alcohol marker; LC-MS/MS; N-Acetyltaurine; Taurine; Urine analysis





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