Nicotine exposure can be detected in cerebrospinal fluid of active and passive smokers

Ahmad H. Malkawi, Abeer M. Al-Ghananeem, Jose de Leon, Peter A. Crooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A simple, rapid and sensitive liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) method has been utilized for the quantitative determination of nicotine and its major metabolite cotinine (COT) in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of active and passive smokers. CSF samples from 18 smokers, 15 non-smokers, 15 children, 15 infants, and 9 neonatal were analyzed for nicotine (NIC) and cotinine content. Cotinine levels in the CSF of smokers ranged from 27.3 to 457.1 ng/ml, whereas nicotine levels were considerably lower (6.0-215.1 ng/ml). Cotinine could be detected in 4 of the 15 CSF samples from non-smokers (3.5-30.4 ng/ml), and a few other passive smokers, including neonates from smoking mothers (15.6-81.1 ng/ml). The concentrations of cotinine in CSF samples suggests that nicotine easily passes into the CSF, which makes it an excellent CSF marker for tobacco-smoke exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2009


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cotinine
  • LC/MS
  • Nicotine
  • Passive and active smokers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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