#4 Quantitative Analysis of Heroin and its Metabolites in vivo
This study investigated heroin and its metabolites in vivo in the rat by using a high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method. After intramuscular administrationof heroin (10 g/kg body weight) or morphine hydrochloride (20 mg/kg body weight) for 14 consecutive days, the heroin metabolites 6-AM (6-monoacetylmorphine) and morphine were detected in hair and urine samples.. In both the morphine and heroin groups, urine samples contained much higher levels of morphine than 6-AM, while hair samples contained equivalent levels of morphine and 6-AM. The presence of 6-AM in the morphine group might be related to the acetylation of morphine into heroin by the acetyl-transferring enzyme in liver, a conversion process that was confirmed in laboratory experiments but has not previously been described in vivo in mammalian species including humans In addition, our study also found that the formation of morphine not only can result from the metabolism of heroin but can also be generated by taking morphine hydrochloride.
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