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Thiodicarb and Methomyl Tissue Distribution in a Fatal Multiple Compounds Poisoning

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Thiodicarb is a nonsystemic carbamate insecticide whose acetylcholinesterase activity is related to its main methomyl degradation product. A 40-year-old woman was found dead in her car. Empty packages of medicines and an open bottle of Larvin® containing thiodicarb were found near her body. No signs of violence nor traumatic injuries were noticed upon autopsy, and police investigations strongly suggested a suicide. Systematic toxicological analysis performed on postmortem specimens revealed the presence of various sedatives, hypnotics, and antipsychotic drugs in blood, urine, and gastric content. Some of the compounds identified were determined at blood concentrations well above the known therapeutic concentrations: zolpidem (2.87 mg/L), bromazepam (2.39 mg/L), nordazepam (4.21 mg/L), and levopremazine (0.64 mg/L). Specific analysis of thiodicarb and of its methomyl metabolite was then performed on all fluids and tissues collected during autopsy by liquid chromatography ion trap tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS). The anticholinesterase capacity of blood, urine, and gastric content collected at autopsy was 83%, 82%, and 32%, respectively (normal value: 0%). The presence of thiodicarb in the bottle found near the body corroborates the hypothesis of an intake of that compound. Although thiodicarb was only detected in gastric content (24.3 mg/L), its methomyl metabolite was quantified in most postmortem tissues and fluids: gastric content (19.9 mg/L), peripheral blood (0.7 mg/L), urine (8.5 mg/L), bile (2.7 mg/L), liver (0.7 mg/kg), kidney (1.7 mg/kg), lung (1.5 mg/kg), brain (9.3 mg/kg), and heart (3.6 mg/kg).
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Keywords: fatal poisoning; forensic science; liquid chromatography ion trap mass spectrometry; methomyl; thiodicarb; tissue distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Fédération Médico-Judiciaire, CHU de Reims, Reims, France. 2: Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et Toxicologie, CHU de Reims, Reims, France. 3: Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et Pharmacocinétique, UFR de Pharmacie, Reims, France.

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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