Validation of a Fully Automated Immunoaffinity Workflow for the Detection and Quantification of Insulin Analogs by LC-MS-MS in Postmortem Vitreous Humor

Kevin M Legg, Laura M Labay, Sally S Aiken, Barry K Logan
Journal of Analytical Toxicology 2019 March 30
The analysis of biological specimens collected at autopsy for the presence of exogenous insulin(s) is of special interest in select death investigations as they may be suspected in the cause of a death. Technical challenges include the limited stability of insulin, and the forensic requirement of differentiating endogenous insulin from pharmaceutical analogs. A novel method was developed for the detection and quantification of human insulin, Glulisine, Lispro, Aspart, Glargine and Detemir in vitreous fluid. An immunoaffinity extraction procedure is performed followed by separation of the insulin α- and β-chains. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis of the β-chain allows for the unequivocal identification of each insulin analog. The analytical measurement range for each insulin was 0.5-25 ng/mL. The method was evaluated for accuracy, precision, carryover, interferences and stability. Eight vitreous fluid samples collected from cases where untoward insulin use was suspected were subjected to analysis. Positive results were obtained from three samples, and a detailed case history is provided for one of these cases. Even though insulin instability in postmortem biological fluid remains a challenge, this method allows for a reliable forensic-level analysis in vitreous fluid.

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