Ethyl glucuronide in vitreous humor and blood postmortem specimens: analysis by liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry and interpreting results of neo-formation of ethanol
Sara Vezzoli, Marzia Bernini, Francesco De Ferrari
Introduction. The determination of ethyl glucuronide (EtG), a stable and sensitive
marker that is specific to alcohol intake, finds many applications both in the forensic
toxicology and clinical fields.
Aim. The aim of the study is to examine the possibility of using a cadaveric biological
matrix, vitreous humor (VH), to determine EtG as a marker of recent ethanol use.
Methods. The blood, taken from the femoral vein, and the VH were obtained from 63
autopsy cases. Analysis of the EtG was performed using an LC/MS/MS system. Analyses
of the ethanol and putrefaction biomarkers, such as acetaldehyde and n-propanol, were
performed using the HS-GC/FID technique in both the matrices.
Results. In 17 cases, both ethanol and EtG were absent in both matrices.Nineteen cases
presented ethanol in blood from 0.05 to 0.30 g/L, EtG-Blood concentration from 0.02
to 3.27 mg/L, and EtG-VH concentration from 0.01 mg/L to 2.88 mg/L. Thirteen cases
presented ethanol in blood > 0.05 g/L but EtG concentration in blood and VH lower
than 0.01 mg/L, are part of these 8 samples presented acetic aldehyde and n- propanol in
blood or VH, means identification of putrefaction indicators. Fourteen cases presented
ethanol in blood > 0.46 and EtG concentration in blood and VH higher than 0.01 mg/L.
Conclusions. The determination of EtG in biological material is important in those
cases where the intake of ethanol appears doubtful, as it allows us to exclude the possibility
of any post-mortem formation of ethanol.