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Fa Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2016 Aug;32(4):245-249. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1004-5619.2016.04.002. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

[Correlation between RNA Expression Level and Early PMI in Human Brain Tissue].

[Article in Chinese]

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Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Science, Shanghai 201318, China.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Crime Scene Evidence, Key Laboratory of Forensic Evidence and Science Technology, Ministry of Public Security, Institute of Forensic Science, Shanghai Public Security Bureau, Shanghai 200083, China.
Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Basic Medical Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.



To explore the correlation between the expression levels of several RNA markers in human brain tissue and early postmortem interval (PMI).


Twelve individuals with known PMI (range from 4.3 to 22.5 h) were selected and total RNA was extracted from brain tissue. Eight commonly used RNA markers were chosen including β-actin, GAPDH, RPS29, 18S rRNA, 5S rRNA, U6 snRNA, miRNA-9 and miRNA-125b, and the expression levels were detected in brain tissue by real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR. The internal reference markers with stable expression in early PMI were screened using geNorm software and the relationship between its expression level and some relevant factors such as age, gender and cause of death were analyzed. RNA markers normalized by internal reference were inserted into the mathematic model established by previous research for PMI estimation using R software. Model quality was judged by the error rate calculated with estimated PMI.


5S rRNA, miRNA-9 and miRNA-125b showed quite stable expression and their expression levels had no relation with age, gender and cause of death. The error rate of estimated PMI using β-actin was 24.6%, while GAPDH was 41.0%.


5S rRNA, miRNA-9 and miRNA-125b are suitable as internal reference markers of human brain tissue owing to their stable expression in early PMI. The expression level of β-actin correlates well with PMI, which can be used as an additional index for early PMI estimation.


RNA; brain; forensic pathology; postmortem interval; real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR

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