Examination of postmortem fluids and tissues for the presence of methylecgonidine, ecgonidine, cocaine, and benzoylecgonine using solid-phase extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.Clin Chem. 2001 Jun; 47(6):1040-7.CC
During the smoking of crack cocaine (COC), methyl ecgonidine (MED) is formed as one of the pyrolysis products. Once in the body, MED is converted to ecgonidine (ED) through several processes that include spontaneous hydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis. The presence of MED and/or ED could provide valuable information to help determine antemortem conditions in cases where COC is involved. Our goal was to examine postmortem tissues and fluids for the presence of MED, ED, COC, and benzoylecgonine (BZ).
Liver, brain, blood, and urine specimens obtained from 15 postmortem cases were extracted using solid-phase extraction, derivatized, and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with selective-ion monitoring.
Median concentrations (range) of drugs observed in postmortem liver, brain, blood, and urine were 0 (0-10) ng/g, 7 (0-92) ng/g, 0 (0-42) microg/L, and 62 (0-2030) microg/L, respectively, for MED; 655 (90-3274) ng/g, 22 (0-52) ng/g, 119 (13-773) microg/L, and 456 (109-7452) microg/L, respectively, for ED; 57 (0-503) ng/g, 187 (0-1403) ng/g, 12 (0-88) microg/L, and 1208 (37-28 062) microg/L, respectively, for COC; and 821 (45-4980) ng/g, 524 (46-5153) ng/g, 458 (30-2071) microg/L, and 6768 (917-116 430) microg/L, respectively, for BZ. MED was detected in 12 of 15 postmortem cases. The concentrations were highest in urine compared with liver, brain, and blood. The hydrolysis product ED was detected in all postmortem cases, and the concentrations were substantially higher than MED in all liver, blood, and urine specimens.
ED may be a more useful indicator of crack COC smoking.