Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Assay to Detect Ethyl Glucuronide in Human Fingernail: Comparison to Hair and Gender Differences
Over the past decade, the use of hair specimens for the long-term detection of the alcohol biomarker ethyl glucuronide has been increasing in popularity and usage. We evaluated the usefulness of fingernail clippings as a suitable alternative to hair for ethyl glucuronide detection. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for the detection of ethyl glucuronide in fingernail clippings was fully validated and used to analyze the hair and/or fingernail specimens of 606 college-aged study participants. The limit of detection was 2 pg/mg, the limit of quantitation was 8 pg/mg and the method was linear from 8 to 2000 pg/mg. Intra- and inter-assay imprecision studies at three different concentrations (20, 40, 200 pg/mg) were all within 7.8% and all intra- and inter-assay bias studies at these levels were within 115.1% of target concentration. Ethyl glucuronide levels in fingernail (mean = 29.1 ± 55.6 pg/mg) were higher than ethyl glucuronide levels in hair (mean = 9.48 ± 22.3 pg/mg) and a correlation of the matched pairs was observed (r = 0.552, P < 0.01, n = 529). Evaluating each gender separately revealed that the correlation of male fingernail to male hair was large and significant (r = 0.782, P < 0.01, n = 195) while female hair to female fingernail was small yet significant (r = 0.249, P < 0.01, n = 334). The study results demonstrated that fingernail may be a suitable alternative to hair for ethyl glu-curonide detection and may be the preferred sample type due to the lack of a gender bias.
Published by: United States Drug Testing Laboratories on 01-Jan-2012