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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2015 Mar;407(9):2463-72. doi: 10.1007/s00216-015-8492-x. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

Occurrence of specific environmental risk factors in brain tissues of sudden infant death and sudden intrauterine unexpected death victims assessed with gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

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LC-MS Laboratory, Department of Earth, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Urbino, Piazza Rinascimento 6, 61029, Urbino, Italy,


Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sudden intrauterine unexpected death syndrome (SIUDS) are an unresolved teaser in the social-medical and health setting of modern medicine and are the result of multifactorial interactions. Recently, prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants has been associated with negative pregnancy outcomes, and verification of their presence in fetal and newborn tissues is of crucial importance. A gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method, using a triple quadrupole analyzer, is proposed to assess the presence of 20 organochlorine pesticides, two organophosphate pesticides, one carbamate (boscalid), and a phenol (bisphenol A) in human brain tissues. Samples were collected during autopsies of infants and fetuses that died suddenly without any evident cause. The method involves a liquid-solid extraction using n-hexane as the extraction solvent. The extracts were purified with Florisil cartridges prior to the final determination. Recovery experiments using lamb brain spiked at three different concentrations in the range of 1-50 ng g(-1) were performed, with recoveries ranging from 79 to 106%. Intraday and interday repeatability were evaluated, and relative standard deviations lower than 10% and 18%, respectively, were obtained. The selectivity and sensitivity achieved in multiple reaction monitoring mode allowed us to achieve quantification and confirmation in a real matrix at levels as low as 0.2-0.6 ng g(-1). Two MS/MS transitions were acquired for each analyte, using the Q/q ratio as the confirmatory parameter. This method was applied to the analysis of 14 cerebral cortex samples (ten SIUDS and four SIDS cases), and confirmed the presence of several selected compounds.

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