Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal Volume: 43 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 1-8
Postmortem phenobarbital redistribution was studied in a rat model.
A total of 54 rats were sacrificed in a series of 6 experiments. The cadavers were left in an olive grove for 0, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 days before autopsy was performed. Tissues, blood samples, and insect larvae collected at autopsy were then homogenized and the phenobarbital was extracted. Phenobarbital concentration in the extracts was determined using a fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA). Postmortem redistribution of phenobarbital occurred in all the samples analyzed: blood, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and the insect larvae that had colonized the cadavers during their exposure. In kidneys and liver, the concentration of phenobarbital peaked on day 5 and in larvae on day 6. In kidneys and larvae, phenobarbital concentration reached near Day 0 values by Day 8. In blood, heart and lungs, the concentration of Phenobarbital kept increasing throughout the study period. The authors conclude that the procedures taking place in the cadaver in the interval between death and autopsy sampling undermine the value of experimentally obtained reference values, and that kidney and larvae extracts are perhaps the most suitable specimens to analyze in actual cases of advanced decomposition (8 days post-mortem in the model). Figures, table, and references (Published Abstract)