Post-mortem changes of ions in the body fluids have been proposed as an objective tool for inferring the time of death. In particular, the post-mortem increase of potassium concentrations in the vitreous humour has gained great attention in the literature. On the other hand, ammonium, another ion released in post-mortem processes, has received much less attention, potentially due to unresolved analytical issues using current clinical chemistry methods. This paper presents an application of a new analytical approach based on capillary electrophoresis providing the simultaneous analysis of potassium and ammonium ions in the vitreous humour. In addition, to assess the consistency of the post-mortem increase of ammonium concentrations in the vitreous humour, the determination of this ion in the vitreous humour of the two eyes of the same body at the same post-mortem interval has been verified. Vitreous humour was collected from 33 medico-legal cases where the time of death was known exactly. Prior to analysis, all samples were diluted 1:20 with a 40 μg/mL solution of BaCl2 (internal standard). In the study of the variability of the ammonium concentration between the two eyes, no statistically significant differences were found, supporting the hypothesis of an even post-mortem increase of the ion concentrations in this particular biological fluid. Significant correlations of potassium and ammonium ions with the post-mortem interval were found, with r2 of 0.75 and 0.70, respectively.

Simultaneous analysis of potassium and ammonium ions in the vitreous humour by capillary electrophoresis and their integrated use to infer the post mortem interval ({PMI})

Gottardo Rossella
;
Cirielli Vito;Musile Giacomo;Agard Yvane;Bortolotti Federica;Tagliaro Franco
2020-01-01

Abstract

Post-mortem changes of ions in the body fluids have been proposed as an objective tool for inferring the time of death. In particular, the post-mortem increase of potassium concentrations in the vitreous humour has gained great attention in the literature. On the other hand, ammonium, another ion released in post-mortem processes, has received much less attention, potentially due to unresolved analytical issues using current clinical chemistry methods. This paper presents an application of a new analytical approach based on capillary electrophoresis providing the simultaneous analysis of potassium and ammonium ions in the vitreous humour. In addition, to assess the consistency of the post-mortem increase of ammonium concentrations in the vitreous humour, the determination of this ion in the vitreous humour of the two eyes of the same body at the same post-mortem interval has been verified. Vitreous humour was collected from 33 medico-legal cases where the time of death was known exactly. Prior to analysis, all samples were diluted 1:20 with a 40 μg/mL solution of BaCl2 (internal standard). In the study of the variability of the ammonium concentration between the two eyes, no statistically significant differences were found, supporting the hypothesis of an even post-mortem increase of the ion concentrations in this particular biological fluid. Significant correlations of potassium and ammonium ions with the post-mortem interval were found, with r2 of 0.75 and 0.70, respectively.
Ammonium; capillary electrophoresis; post mortem interval; potassium; vitreous humour
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1076369
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