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Free Amino Acid Concentrations in Vitreous Humor and Cerebrospinal Fluid in Relation to the Cause of Death and Postmortem Interval

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We studied free amino acids in vitreous humor and cerebrospinal fluid from 58 cadavers in the course of routine medicolegal autopsies in the city of Granada. The main objective was to establish whether free amino acids contents in these fluids were related with the cause of death, postmortem interval, and severity of the classic signs of asphyxia. The amino acids (aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, glutamine, glycine/threonine/histidine, citruline, arginine, alanine, taurine, GABA, tirosine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, phenylalanine/tryptophan, leucine, and lysine) were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. There were no statistically significant differences in amino acids concentrations in vitreous humor when the different causes of death were considered. Our results did not show any statistically significant relationship when asphyxial score was plotted against the vitreous content of each amino acid. A statistically significant increase with postmortem interval was observed in vitreous taurine (r =0.3191, p =0.01461), glutamate (r =0.4323, p =0.0007) and particularly in aspartate (r =0.4508, p =0.0003).
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Keywords: amino acids; cause of death; cerebrospinal fluid; forensic science; postmortem chemistry; postmortem interval; vitreous humor

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Legal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14004 Córdoba, Spain. 2: Department of Legal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain. 3: Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain.

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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