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Vitreous humour as a complementary sample to blood for the detection/confirmation of diazepam: ante-mortem and post-mortem studies in an animal model

Vitreous humour as a complementary sample to blood for the detection/confirmation of diazepam: ante-mortem and post-mortem studies in an animal model

Human & Experimental Toxicology 23(12): 571-577

The quantification of medical or toxic substances in vitreous humour (VH) could be very useful in forensic toxicology when blood sample determinations are impossible due to absence or deterioration. However, few studies have been made in this area and even fewer have tried to find a relationship between drug levels in both samples. To determine a correlation ratio between blood and VH diazepam (DZ) levels, we performed an experimental study using rabbits administered with a sub-toxic dose of DZ under known and controlled conditions. Blood and VH samples were collected 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 6 hours after the drug administration in order to determine DZ and its main active metabolite, desmethyldiazepam (DMD). In addition, we have studied an animal group sacrificed 2 hours after intramuscular (i.m.) drug administration with blood and VH collection 24 hours later, to evaluate the existence of possible post-mortem changes. After DZ administration, a fast absorption phase was observed with a plasma Cmax value 1 hour after, followed by a rapid concentration decrease, with a half-life of 1 hour, indicating that, besides elimination, a fast distribution to other organs and tissues and/or hepatic metabolism occurred. Diazepam Cmax value in VH was achieved between 1 and 2 hours, when plasma concentrations had already decreased to half the value. The plasma/VH DZ ratio calculated at this time was 10. In the post-mortem study, while plasma DZ concentration at 24 hours was smaller, DMD levels were higher than those at the time of death. In the VH, both DZ and DMD concentrations at 24 hours were higher than those obtained at the time of death. That is, in both fluids DZ and DMD concentrations were different from those at the time of death and post-mortem distribution and redistribution phenomena occurred. The combination of ante-mortem and post-mortem studies has allowed the determination of a correlation ratio for DZ in the rabbit of 6 x, comparing the concentrations in VH collected 24 hours after death with the concentrations detected in plasma at the time of death. This study opens new perspectives for the use of VH as a complementary sample to blood for DZ detection and confirmation. The putative relevance of the correlation ratio obtained, for forensic toxicology practice with medical substances, namely benzodiazepines, recommends further studies in humans.

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Accession: 050956631

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PMID: 15688985

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