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Relationships Between Concentrations of Cocaine and Its Hydrolysates in Peripheral Blood, Heart Blood, Vitreous Humor and Urine


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Wayne C. Duer, Ph.D.
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department
401 South Morgan Street
Tampa, FL 33602


ABSTRACT: Cocaine is known to degrade in vivo and in vitro by several hydrolytic mechanisms. A previous study found that the initial amount of cocaine added to plasma could be accounted for by summing the molar concentrations of cocaine's hydrolysis products and the cocaine remaining after hydrolysis. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether or not relationships might exist between such molar concentration sums for different postmortem bodily fluids. Determinations of cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, and ecgonine were performed using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) with heart blood, femoral blood, vitreous humor (VH), and urine (UR). The results demonstrate a strong correlation between blood and VH concentrations (correlation coefficients of 0.88–0.94), weak correlation between the UR and blood concentrations (correlation coefficients of 0.61–0.64), and weak correlation between UR and VH concentrations (correlation coefficient of 0.59). The results demonstrate that ecgonine is a significant hydrolysate with concentrations on the same order of magnitude as benzoylecgonine. The results are consistent with rapid distribution of the parent drug and its hydrolysates in the blood and VH. The strong correlation between the blood and VH demonstrates that VH is an important medium for toxicology testing when attempting to make a determination of cocaine intoxication.

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