Preanalytical variables affecting the quantification of fatty acid ethyl esters in plasma and serum samples

Britt L. Soderberg, Ewa T. Sicinska, Emily Blodget, Joanne E. Cluette-Brown, Paolo M. Suter, Theresa Schuppisser, Wilhem Vetter, Michael Laposata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) are cytotoxic nonoxidative ethanol metabolites produced by esterification of fatty acids and ethanol. FAEEs are detectable in blood up to 24 h after ethanol consumption. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of gender, serum or plasma triglyceride concentration, time and temperature of specimen storage, type of alcoholic beverage ingested, and the rate of ethanol consumption on FAEE concentrations in plasma or serum. Methods: For some studies, subject were recruited volunteers; in others, residual blood samples after ethanol quantification were used. FAEEs were isolated by solid-phase extraction and quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: For weight- adjusted amounts of ethanol intake, FAEE concentrations were twofold greater for men than women (P ≤ 0.05). Accounting for triglycerides improved the correlation between blood ethanol concentrations and FAEE concentrations for both men (from r = 0.640 to r = 0.874) and women (from r = 0.619 to r = 0.673). FAEE concentrations did not change when samples were stored at or below 4 °C, but doubled when stored at room temperature for ≥24 h. The type of alcoholic beverage and rate of consumption did not affect FAEE concentrations. Conclusion: These studies advance plasma and serum FAEE measurements closer to implementation as a clinical test for ethanol intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2183-2190
Number of pages8
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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