Effect of murine retroviral infection on hair and serum levels of cocaine and morphine

Torka S. Poet, Francisca Martinez, Ronald Ross Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


LP-BM5 retrovirally infected female C57BL 6J mice were administered cocaine, morphine or both by daily intraperitoneal injection for 9 weeks. Drug concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay in serum and in hair extracts. Hair samples obtained from all drug-treated mice were positive for the drug injected, while none of the saline-treated mice had detectable drug levels in hair or serum. The average morphine concentration obtained from non-infected mice was 11 ng/mg hair whereas the amount found in the LP-BM5-infected mice was significantly higher (20 ng/mg hair). Mice injected with both morphine and cocaine were given 50% of the regular dose of each drug and drug levels in the hair of these animals were approximately half that of mice injected with the full dose of the single drug. Non-infected mice treated with both drugs had a mean value of 7 ng morphine/mg hair and 374 ng cocaine/mg hair while retrovirus -infected mice had significantly higher concentrations, 10 ng morphine/mg hair and 1160 ng cocaine/mg hair (P < 0.001). Serum concentrations of cocaine and morphine were significantly higher (P < 0.01) in the retrovirus-infected animals from 40 min to 1.5 h. The increased concentrations of cocaine and morphine in serum during retrovirus infection are accompanied by a significant increase in the amount of drug incorporated into the hair matrix. This change indicates that retroviral infection may influence the disposition of these drugs in the systemic circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Cocaine
  • Hair levels
  • Morphine
  • Murine retrovirus infection
  • Serum levels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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