Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Chemistry and Biochemistry


Chemistry, Pharmaceutical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


In this study a relatively simple and efficient extraction and derivatization procedure has been used to extract a metabolite of heroin, morphine, from brain tissue. The bis(O-tri-methylsilyl) morphine derivative formed is analyzed by gas chromatography using a 3% OV-17 column and a flame ionization detector. With the procedure as described it is possible to determine as little as 0.13 (mu)g of morphine per gram of brain tissue. The concentration of morphine in the blood of heroin addicts who die as a result of their addiction is often no higher than the level of those who do not die as attested to by the level of morphine found in the blood of homicide victims. It has been suggested that death is a result of rapid metabolism and distribution of the drug to organs where the concentration is fatal. Since most of the opiate receptors are located in the brain and it is the site where most, if not all of the effects of the drug originate, the concentration of morphine in postmortem samples of various areas of the brain have been determined and related to blood concentration. The results from the analysis of 21 cases are presented. When the correlation coefficients between the morphine concentrations in blood and in each of the brain sections analyzed were tested against the null hypothesis that the population correlation was zero, the correlation was significant at the 5 percent level between blood morphine concentrations in the blood and in the brain stem. The correlation was significant at the 1 percent level between morphine concentrations in the blood and in the thalamus. The conclusion reached in this study is that the level of morphine in the blood can be used to predict the level in the brain, the best correlation being between the blood and the thalamus.Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1983 .P374. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 44-03, Section: B, page: 0807. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1983.