A fast and reliable method for GHB quantitation in whole blood by GC–MS/MS (TQD) for forensic purposes

Recent Periodical Literature:  by Viktor Naumovski

This article discussed an experiment method for quantifying the postmortem amount of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid in blood samples. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a natural fatty acid found in mammals that has since its discovery been able to be synthesized.  It has been used illicitly for its muscle building effects as well as sexual abuse due to its odorless and colorless qualities, raising concern due to possible risks it poses when not used clinically.  Testing in forensic labs has increased but correctly interpreting samples following death due to it being naturally occurring in the body as well as that it increases in concentration due to autolysis and microbial action phenomena.  A method was developed to test the level of GHB by creating different concentration standards and adding them to blood samples collected in autopsies that had NaF added.  Samples were made by combining the standard solution with whole blood aliquots and vortexing the samples, which were analyzed by GC-MS/MS and identifying the retention times through the standards.

Tests were done multiple times for repeatability and precision within the tests, with the results showing the precursor ions of 233 m/z for GHB and 239 m/z for GHB-D6 as the most reliable peaks suggesting less possible interferences.  The validation process was used to test the precision of the process with five positives and five blanks to ensure there were no false positives or negatives that occurred in the experiment.  Quantification of the samples were found to have a coefficient of variance that was 7% lower than the reference values.  The resulting values were found to be below the acceptance and accuracy criteria so the method was accepted for application to real cases.  This method utilized methanol for the precipitation and was found to be straightforward and specific in determining the quantity of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid found in blood following death, and this is the first GC-MS/MS triple quadrupole method that tested for multiple ions.

Castro, André L., Sónia Tarelho, Mário Dias, Flávio Reis, and Helena M. Teixeira. “A Fast and Reliable Method for GHB Quantitation in Whole Blood by GC–MS/MS (TQD) for Forensic Purposes.” Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 119 (2016): 139-44. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2015.11.038


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