International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 129, Issue 6, pp 1233–1245 | Cite as

High-resolution mass spectrometric determination of the synthetic cannabinoids MAM-2201, AM-2201, AM-2232, and their metabolites in postmortem plasma and urine by LC/Q-TOFMS

  • Kei Zaitsu
  • Hiroshi Nakayama
  • Mayumi Yamanaka
  • Kazuaki Hisatsune
  • Kentaro Taki
  • Tomomi Asano
  • Tooru Kamata
  • Munehiro Katagai
  • Yumi Hayashi
  • Maiko Kusano
  • Hitoshi Tsuchihashi
  • Akira Ishii
Original Article


High-resolution mass spectrometry and accurate mass measurement by liquid chromatography/quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (LC/Q-TOFMS) was applied to postmortem plasma and urine specimens from an autopsy of a fatal case involving synthetic cannabinoid use, resulting in the detection of three synthetic cannabinoids: MAM-2201, AM-1220, and AM-2232. We searched for their metabolites existing in postmortem plasma or urine by LC/Q-TOFMS and were able to detect N-dealkylated metabolites, defluorinated and further oxidized metabolites of MAM-2201, and some hydroxylated metabolites. Postmortem plasma concentrations of the parent drugs, N-dealkylated metabolites, and fluorinated and further oxidized metabolites of MAM-2201 were measured, and quantitation results revealed site differences between heart and femoral postmortem plasma concentrations of parent drugs and some metabolites, suggesting postmortem redistribution of the synthetic cannabinoids and their metabolites. Quantitation results suggest that defluorination is a major metabolic pathway for MAM-2201, and N-dealkylation is a common but minor pathway for the naphthoylindole-type synthetic cannabinoids in human.


Synthetic cannabinoid LC/Q-TOFMS Metabolism Potential postmortem redistribution 



This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 30700546.

Supplementary material

414_2015_1257_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kei Zaitsu
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Nakayama
    • 1
  • Mayumi Yamanaka
    • 1
  • Kazuaki Hisatsune
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kentaro Taki
    • 1
  • Tomomi Asano
    • 1
  • Tooru Kamata
    • 3
  • Munehiro Katagai
    • 3
  • Yumi Hayashi
    • 4
  • Maiko Kusano
    • 1
  • Hitoshi Tsuchihashi
    • 1
  • Akira Ishii
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Legal Medicine & BioethicsNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Forensic Science LaboratoryAichi Prefectural Police HeadquartersNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Forensic Science LaboratoryOsaka Prefectural Police HeadquartersOsakaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Radiological and Medical Laboratory SciencesNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan

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