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. 2018 Nov;42(11):2094-2099.
doi: 10.1111/acer.13865. Epub 2018 Aug 26.

Pharmacokinetics of Phosphatidylethanol 16:0/20:4 in Human Blood After Alcohol Intake

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Pharmacokinetics of Phosphatidylethanol 16:0/20:4 in Human Blood After Alcohol Intake

Marisa Lopez-Cruzan et al. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. .
Free PMC article


Background: The purpose of this study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics of the phosphatidylethanol (PEth) 16:0/20:4 homolog in uncoagulated human blood samples taken from 18 participants in a clinical laboratory setting after consumption of 2 standard doses of ethanol (EtOH).

Methods: Male and female participants received either 0.4 or 0.8 g/kg oral doses of EtOH during a 15-minute period. Blood samples were collected before and throughout 6 hours immediately after alcohol administration and then again at days 2, 4, 7, 11, and 14 of the follow-up period. PEth 16:0/20:4 levels were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection.

Results: (i) The increase in PEth 16:0/20:4 from baseline to maximum concentration was less than that of PEth 16:0/18:1 or PEth 16:0/18:2 homologs during the 6-hour period after EtOH administration; (ii) the mean half-life of PEth 16:0/20:4 was 2.1 ± 3 (SD) days, which was shorter than the mean half-life of either PEth 16:0/18:1 or PEth 16:0/18:2, 7.6 ± 3 (SD) or 6.8 ± 4 (SD) days, respectively.

Conclusions: The pharmacokinetics of PEth 16:0/20:4 in whole blood samples is detectable after alcohol consumption and differs in amount synthesized and rate of elimination versus PEth 16:0/18:1 and 16:0/18:2. Measuring the concentrations of these 3 homologs has the potential to provide more information about the amount and time frame of alcohol consumption than any one alone.

Keywords: Alcohol; Blood; High-Performance Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry; Pharmacokinetics; Phosphatidylethanol.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest

None of the authors have conflict of interests concerning this manuscript.


Fig. 1:
Fig. 1:
A)PEth 16:0/20:4 time course profile in blood samples from participants after given two initial doses of 0.4 g/kg (diamonds) and 0.8 g/kg (triangles) of alcohol. Blood samples were collected at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 and 360 minutes after alcohol intake and at 2880, 5760, 10080, 15480 and 20160 minutes during follow-ups (2nd, 4th, 7th, 11th and 14th day respectively). B) PEth 16:0/18:1 (top curves) and PEth 16:0/18:2 (bottom curves) levels from the same blood samples, same time points and same doses as A) (0.4 g/kg, rhomboids and 0.8 g/kg triangles). PEth concentrations were not adjusted for background. Error bars are shown as SEM for easy visualization of the curves.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. AUC 360 of PEth 16:0/20:4.
Individual values of the area under the curve (AUC 360) shown in a scatter plot measured from 0 to 360 minutes during the day of alcohol administration at 0.4 g/kg and 0.8 g/kg EtOH doses. Graph compares AUC values between PEth 16:0/20:4 (black diamonds), PEth 16:0/18:1 (white diamonds) and PEth 16:0/18:2 (grey diamonds) with a line connecting the three homologs measured in the same participant.
Fig 3.
Fig 3.. PEth 16:0/20:4 Half-Life.
Individual half-lives were measured from the highest peak at administration time (Cmax) to the last follow-up time point and values shown in an individual scatter plot graph. PEth 16:0/20:4 (black diamonds) half-life is compared to the half-lives of PEth 16:0/18:1 (white diamonds) and PEth 16:0/18:2 (grey diamonds). The homologs corresponding to the same participant are connected for a line.

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