Aims: To compare levels of phosphatidylethanol (PEth) to self-reported alcohol intake among young adult binge drinkers (18-30 years).
Methods: Abstainers (n = 23), moderate (n = 22), and binge drinkers (n = 58) completed an alcohol consumption questionnaire and the AUDIT. PEth was measured in whole blood and dried blood spots via high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Also measured was mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT).
Results: Most subjects were female (65%) and Caucasian (73%). Among binge drinkers, past-month average number of binge episodes was 7.2 ± 4; average duration of binge drinking behavior was 4.3 ± 3 years. AUDIT scores and PEth levels (ng/ml) in whole blood or dried blood spots were significantly (P < 0.001) greater in binge drinkers (13 ± 4, 186 ± 170, and 65 ± 53, respectively) compared to moderate drinkers (6 ± 3, 24 ± 29, and 11 ± 13, respectively) and abstainers (0.6 ± 0.89, 0, and 0, respectively). No differences were found in MCV and GGT among groups. There were significant correlations between whole blood and dried blood spot PEth levels and AUDIT scores (Spearman's r = 0.745 and 0.738, P < 0.0001, respectively), and whole blood and dried blood spot PEth levels were significantly correlated (0.899, P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: PEth levels measured in whole blood and dried blood spots were significantly greater in binge drinkers compared to abstainers and moderate drinkers, and these levels were positively correlated with AUDIT scores.
© The Author 2015. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.