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Time-dependent postmortem redistribution of butyrfentanyl and its metabolites in blood and alternative matrices in a case of butyrfentanyl intoxication


Staeheli, Sandra N; Baumgartner, Markus R; Gauthier, Saskia; Gascho, Dominic; Jarmer, Juliane; Kraemer, Thomas; Steuer, Andrea E (2016). Time-dependent postmortem redistribution of butyrfentanyl and its metabolites in blood and alternative matrices in a case of butyrfentanyl intoxication. Forensic Science International, 266:170-177.

Abstract

A fatal case of butyrfentanyl poisoning was investigated at the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine. At admission at the institute approx. 9 h after death (first time point, t1), femoral and heart blood (right ventricle) was collected, as well as samples from the lung, liver, kidney, spleen, muscle and adipose tissue using computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy sampling. At autopsy (t2), samples from the same body regions were collected manually. Additionally, urine, heart blood (left ventricle), gastric content, brain samples and hair were collected. Butyrfentanyl concentrations and relative concentrations of the metabolites carboxy-, hydroxy-, nor-, and desbutyrfentanyl were determined by LC⿿MS/MS and LC-QTOF. At t1, butyrfentanyl concentrations were 66 ng/mL in femoral blood, 39 ng/mL in heart blood, 110 ng/g in muscle, 57 ng/g in liver, 160 ng/g in kidney, 3100 ng/g in lung, 590 ng/g in spleen and 550 ng/g in adipose tissue. At t2, butyrfentanyl concentration in urine was 1100 ng/mL, in gastric content 2000 ng/mL, in hair 11,000 pg/mg and brain concentrations ranged between 200⿿340 ng/g. Carboxy- and hydroxybutyrfentanyl were identified as most abundant metabolites. Comparison of t1 and t2 showed a concentration increase of butyrfentanyl in femoral blood of 120%, in heart blood of 55% and a decrease in lung of 30% within 19 h. No clear concentration changes could be observed in the other matrices. Postmortem concentration changes were also observed for the metabolites. In conclusion, butyrfentanyl seems to be prone to postmortem redistribution processes and concentrations in forensic death cases should be interpreted with caution.

Abstract

A fatal case of butyrfentanyl poisoning was investigated at the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine. At admission at the institute approx. 9 h after death (first time point, t1), femoral and heart blood (right ventricle) was collected, as well as samples from the lung, liver, kidney, spleen, muscle and adipose tissue using computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy sampling. At autopsy (t2), samples from the same body regions were collected manually. Additionally, urine, heart blood (left ventricle), gastric content, brain samples and hair were collected. Butyrfentanyl concentrations and relative concentrations of the metabolites carboxy-, hydroxy-, nor-, and desbutyrfentanyl were determined by LC⿿MS/MS and LC-QTOF. At t1, butyrfentanyl concentrations were 66 ng/mL in femoral blood, 39 ng/mL in heart blood, 110 ng/g in muscle, 57 ng/g in liver, 160 ng/g in kidney, 3100 ng/g in lung, 590 ng/g in spleen and 550 ng/g in adipose tissue. At t2, butyrfentanyl concentration in urine was 1100 ng/mL, in gastric content 2000 ng/mL, in hair 11,000 pg/mg and brain concentrations ranged between 200⿿340 ng/g. Carboxy- and hydroxybutyrfentanyl were identified as most abundant metabolites. Comparison of t1 and t2 showed a concentration increase of butyrfentanyl in femoral blood of 120%, in heart blood of 55% and a decrease in lung of 30% within 19 h. No clear concentration changes could be observed in the other matrices. Postmortem concentration changes were also observed for the metabolites. In conclusion, butyrfentanyl seems to be prone to postmortem redistribution processes and concentrations in forensic death cases should be interpreted with caution.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pathology and Forensic Medicine
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:05 Jul 2016 12:14
Last Modified:26 May 2020 15:09
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0379-0738
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2016.05.034

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