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Front Biosci. 2003 Jan 1;8:e202-17.

Fatty acid ethyl esters: toxic non-oxidative metabolites of ethanol and markers of ethanol intake.

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  • 1Division of Laboratory Medicine, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


This report describes the biochemistry of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE), non-oxidative metabolites of ethanol, and their clinical significance. We review information regarding the enzymes responsible for FAEE synthesis and degradation, and the mechanisms involved with the intracellular and extracellular transport of FAEE and FAEE-mediated cytotoxicity. Also a summary of reports on the emerging clinical significance and diagnostic utility of FAEE as short and long-term markers of alcohol consumption, and the methodological aspects of FAEE assessment is included.

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