Fatty acid ethyl esters. Ethanol metabolites that reflect ethanol intake.

Britt L. Soderberg, Raneem O. Salem, Catherine A. Best, Joanne E. Cluette-Brown, Michael Laposata

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) are nonoxidative ethanol metabolites that have been implicated as mediators of alcohol-induced organ damage. FAEEs are detectable in the blood after ethanol ingestion, and on that basis represent markers of ethanol intake. FAEEs have also been quantitated in human liver and adipose tissue and have been shown to be postmortem markers of premortem ethanol intake. A substantial difference in FAEE concentration was found in liver and adipose tissue of patients with detectable blood ethanol at the time of autopsy vs those with no detectable blood ethanol, who were either chronic alcoholics or social drinkers. Most currently available diagnostic markers for chronic alcoholism have limited clinical utility. Data in this report demonstrate that the amount or type of FAEEs can be used to differentiate a chronic alcoholic from an episodic heavy drinker (binage drinker) at or near peak blood ethanol concentrations and approximately 24 hours after discontinuation of ethanol. Thus, FAEEs are markers of ethanol intake in blood and tissues and can be useful in distinguishing chronic alcoholics from binge drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S94-99
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Volume119 Suppl
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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