Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


Distribution of Eight QT-Prolonging Drugs and Their Main Metabolites Between Postmortem Cardiac Tissue and Blood Reveals Potential Pitfalls in Toxicological Interpretation

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  • Christian R Mikkelsen
  • Jakob R Jornil
  • Ljubica V Andersen
  • Banner, Jytte
  • Jørgen B Hasselstrøm

Femoral blood concentrations are usually used in postmortem toxicology to assess possible toxic effects of drugs. This includes QT-prolongation and other cardiac dysrhythmia, which could have been the cause of death. However, blood concentration is only a surrogate for the active site concentration, and therefore cardiac tissue concentration may provide a more accurate toxicological interpretation. Thus, cardiac tissue and femoral and cardiac blood concentrations were examined for eight frequently used QT-prolonging drugs (QTD) and their metabolites in a mentally ill population. In total, 180 cases were included from the Danish autopsy-based forensic study SURVIVE. The concentrations were analyzed using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry utilizing stable isotopically labeled internal standards. The results showed that the cardiac tissue concentrations were significantly higher compared to femoral and cardiac blood concentrations, with two exceptions. The median cardiac tissue-to-femoral blood concentration ratio (Kb) ranged from 2.2 (venlafaxine) to 15 (nortriptyline). The inter-individual fold difference between the minimum and maximum Kb ranged from 2.6-fold (Z-hydroxynortriptyline) to 61 (venlafaxine). For 12 compounds, postmortem redistribution appeared to be minimal, whereas four compounds displayed some degree of postmortem redistribution. Citalopram and quetiapine were selected for in-depth analysis of the relation between the toxicological interpretation and femoral blood/cardiac tissue concentrations. Within this dataset, citalopram displayed a wide overlap in cardiac tissue concentrations (~50%) between non-toxic and toxic citalopram cases, as estimated from femoral blood concentrations. In contrast, quetiapine displayed no overlap in cardiac tissue concentrations between non-toxic and toxic quetiapine cases based on femoral blood concentrations. The implication of the citalopram finding is that possible intoxications can be overlooked when only considering femoral blood concentrations. Based on the present findings, non-toxic cardiac tissue 10th-90th percentile concentration ranges were estimated for citalopram (0.93-4.4 mg/kg) and quetiapine (0.0073-0.60 mg/kg).

TidsskriftJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)375–383
StatusUdgivet - 1 jul. 2018

ID: 194970588