Mass Spectroscopy Imaging of Hair Strands Captures Short-Term and Long-Term Changes in Emtricitabine Adherence

ACS Citation

Mwangi, J. N.; Gilliland, W. M.; White, N.; Sykes, C.; Poliseno, A.; Knudtson, K. A.; Hightow-Weidman, L.; Kashuba, A. D. M.; Rosen, E. P. Mass Spectroscopy Imaging of Hair Strands Captures Short- Term and Long-Term Changes in Emtricitabine Adherence. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 2022, 66 (4), e0217621.


Most measures of adherence to antiretroviral therapy require a blood sample, and none capture longitudinal daily adherence. A new noninvasive method for measuring daily adherence to antiretroviral regimens containing emtricitabine (FTC) was developed for intact hair strands using infrared matrix-assisted laser desorption electrospray ionization (IR-MALDESI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). A directly observed therapy study of daily and intermittent (3, 1, and 0 doses/week) FTC dosing (n = 12) benchmarked adherence in hair, revealing distinct accumulation patterns and median FTC signal abundance (1,702, 495, 352, and 0, respectively) with each dosing frequency. A threshold value of FTCsignal abundance of 500 differentiated daily dosing from 3 or fewer doses/week (specificity, 100%; sensitivity, 100% over 30 days and 80% over 60 days). Using these criteria, daily FTC hair adherence was classified in young men (n = 8) who have sex with men (YMSM) engaged in or initiating preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Four types of adherence profiles were observed in sequential 30-day periods: consistently high, occasional missed doses, improvement following study initiation, and intermittent. Discrete days of nonadherence were identified across the 60-day window, with the average number of consecutive days classified as nonadherent increasing across the four profile types (1, 2, 19, and 58 days, respectively). Additionally, cumulative FTC response in hair (60-day average) significantly correlated with dried blood spot tenofovir diphosphate concentrations collected simultaneously (rs = 0.79, P = 0.03). Based on these data, IR-MALDESI FTC adherence classification in hair strands can better delineate short-term changes in adherence behaviors over a long retrospective window, offering great potential for noninvasive adherence monitoring and quick supportive interventions.

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Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

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