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Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2016 Jun;12(2):163-9. doi: 10.1007/s12024-016-9764-2. Epub 2016 Mar 26.

Catecholamines and their O-methylated metabolites in vitreous humor in hypothermia cases.

Author information

1
University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, 4 chemin de la Vulliette, 1000, Lausanne 25, Switzerland.
2
Chair and Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland.
3
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové, Charles University in Prague, Sokolská 581, 500 05, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic.
4
Service de Biomédecine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
5
University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, 4 chemin de la Vulliette, 1000, Lausanne 25, Switzerland. cristian.palmiere@chuv.ch.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of catecholamines and their O-methylated metabolites in vitreous humor samples in identifying antemortem cold exposure and fatal hypothermia in the forensic casework.

METHODS:

A total of 80 autopsy cases (40 hypothermia fatalities and 40 cases in which hypothermia as the main or contributory cause of death was excluded) were selected for this study. Catecholamines and their O-methylated metabolites were measured in urine and vitreous humor samples collected at autopsy.

RESULTS:

Urine catecholamine and their O-methylated metabolite concentrations were significantly higher in hypothermia-related deaths. On the other hand, measurements in vitreous humor samples did not reveal statistically significant differences between hypothermia-related deaths and controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Globally considered, our findings seem to suggest that, contrary to urine catecholamines and their O-methylated metabolites, vitreous levels of these compounds appear to be of limited value in characterizing human antemortem stress reactions due to cold exposure and can hardly be used in the forensic setting to support the diagnosis of hypothermia.

KEYWORDS:

Catecholamines; Hypothermia; Metanephrines; Postmortem biochemistry; Vitreous humor

PMID:
27017494
DOI:
10.1007/s12024-016-9764-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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