Journal Article

Relative Distribution of Drugs in Decomposed Skeletal Tissue

James H. Watterson, Nathalie A. Desrosiers, Caroline C. Betit, Dorothy Dean and John F. Wyman

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 34, issue 8, pages 510-515
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Relative Distribution of Drugs in Decomposed Skeletal Tissue

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Skeletal tissues from a domestic pig exposed to amitriptyline, diazepam, and pentobarbital were analyzed to determine the relative distribution of these drugs in bone. Following drug exposure and euthanasia, remains were allowed to decompose outdoors to complete skeletonization between summer 2007 and fall 2009. Remains were recovered and separated according to bone type. Twelve different bone types were pulverized and sampled in triplicate. Each bone sample underwent methanolic extraction (96 h, 50°C), followed by solid-phase extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in the selected ion monitoring mode. Mass-normalized assay responses underwent ANOVA with post-hoc testing, revealing bone type as a main effect for all three drugs, but not for the diazepam metabolite (nordiazepam). The assay response varied with respect to bone type by factors of 27, 39, and 20 for pentobarbital, diazepam, and amitriptyline, respectively. The relative distribution between bone type was qualitatively similar for the three administered drugs analyzed for, with the largest response obtained from rib for all three drugs. This is the first study, to the authors' knowledge, of the distribution of different drugs in various decomposed skeletal tissues in a controlled experiment using an animal model of comparable physiology to humans. These data have implications for the interpretive value of forensic drug measurements in skeletal tissues.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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