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PLoS One. 2017 Jul 28;12(7):e0182161. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182161. eCollection 2017.

UV-Vis and ATR-FTIR spectroscopic investigations of postmortem interval based on the changes in rabbit plasma.

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Department of Forensic Pathology, College of Forensic Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.


Estimating PMI is of great importance in forensic investigations. Although many methods are used to estimate the PMI, a few investigations focus on the postmortem redistribution. In this study, ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) measurement combined with visual inspection indicated a regular diffusion of hemoglobin into plasma after death showing the redistribution of postmortem components in blood. Thereafter, attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy was used to confirm the variations caused by this phenomenon. First, full-spectrum partial least-squares (PLS) and genetic algorithm combined with PLS (GA-PLS) models were constructed to predict the PMI. The performance of GA-PLS model was better than that of full-spectrum PLS model based on its root mean square error (RMSE) of cross-validation of 3.46 h (R2 = 0.95) and the RMSE of prediction of 3.46 h (R2 = 0.94). The investigation on the similarity of spectra between blood plasma and formed elements also supported the role of redistribution of components in spectral changes in postmortem plasma. These results demonstrated that ATR-FTIR spectroscopy coupled with the advanced mathematical methods could serve as a convenient and reliable tool to study the redistribution of postmortem components and estimate the PMI.

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