Postmortem Distribution of Cathinone and Cathine in Human Biological Specimens in a Case of Death Associated with Khat Chewing

Ibraheem M. Attafi, Mohammed Y. Albeishy, Magbool E. Oraiby, Ibrahim A. Khardali, Ghassan A. Shaikhain, Mohsen M. Fageeh


Chewing khat leaves has been associated with several adverse health effects, and there are very few case reports of cardiotoxicity, stroke and death resulting from this. In addition, postmortem distribution of cathine and cathinone, active components of khat, are not yet fully clear. This postmortem case report aimed to identify and determine the concentration of cathine and cathinone in different body organs and green chewed plants found in the mouth of the deceased. Immunoassay and non-targeted GC-MS analysis showed that samples were only positive for amphetamine type stimulants. LC-MS/MS quantitative analysis confirmed that samples were positive for cathinone and cathine. The results showed that cathinone concentration was 0.03, 0.03, 0.06, 0.07, 1.85 and 31 μg/ml in brain, liver, blood, vitreous humor, stomach and chewed green plant, respectively. Whereas, the concentration of cathine was 0.31, 3.28, and 141 μg/ml in kidney, stomach and chewed green plant, respectively. Cathine and cathinone concentrations were found to be changed with respect to site of sampling. The results suggest that stomach and chewed green plants are considered as good samples to show the concentration for both cathine and cathinone at the time of death of the khat chewer.


Forensic Sciences, Khat, Cathine, Cathinone, Postmortem Distribution

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