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Tuesday, August 26 Metabolism and Disposition of Drugs

Repetto M., Jurado C., Garfia A., Hidalgo E., Sanz P., Rodriguez-Vicente C., Garcia-Repetto R., Roca I.
Instituto Nacional de Toxicologia,PO Box 863, 41080 Sevilla, Spain

After death and prior to autopsy, postmortem drug redistribution which involves drug concentration changes in blood as well as in different organ tissues, occurs in cadavers.

In this study we tried to demonstrate the influence of two separate variables: postmortem time interval and cadaver position (supine or prone decubitus) on ethanol diffusion from the stomach into the different thoraco-abdominal organs.

Rats killed with cyanide were intragastrically administered 1mL of ethanol (50% w/v) by gavage. The corpses were subsequently kept supine or prone for 24 or 48 hours at 20° C. The following samples were collected during the autopsies: cardiac blood, heart, brain, gastrocnemius muscle, left and right kidneys, left and right lungs, stomach and the following portions of the liver: caudate lobe, right lateral lobe, right and left portions of the medium lobe, and anterior and posterior portions of the left lobe.

The influence of the postmortem time interval was not very remarkable, only a moderate increase in ethanol concentrations from 24 to 48 hours was found in the majority of the organs. However, the cadaver position had a noticeable influence on postmortem distribution: in corpses maintained in the supine position, ethanol concentrations were higher in the left-side organs (left kidney, hepatic caudate lobe, posterior portion, anterior portion and medium portion of the left hepatic lobes) while the opposite occurred in the cadavers maintained in the prone position, where ethanol levels were higher in the right-side abdominal organs (right kidney, hepatic right lobe and hepatic medium lobe).

These experimental data demonstrate that postmortem diffusion of ethanol is only slightly dependent on postmortem time interval, moderately dependent on sampling site, and markedly dependent on the position maintained by the cadavers.

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