Volume 31, Issue 4 (October 1986)
Catecholamines in the Vitreous Fluid and Urine of Guinea Pigs Dying of Cold and the Effect of Postmortem Freezing and Autolysis
Concentrations of catecholamines in vitreous fluid and urine in guinea pigs dying of cold and the effects of freezing and autolysis on these parameters were studied. The analysis was performed by high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Noradrenaline (NA) concentration in vitreous fluid was more than 20 times higher in the cold exposed animals than in controls (44.2 ± 9.2 versus 2.0 ± 1.0 ng/mL). Autolysis alone caused an increase to 33.5 ± 7.7 ng/mL, and freezing alone to 13.4 ± 5.3 ng/mL. The highest values were in the group with exposure, freezing, and autolysis. Adrenaline (A) concentration in the vitreous fluid increased fourfold (3.9 ± 1.5 versus 0.7 ± 0.5 ng/mL) in cold exposure and twofold as a result of autolysis. Dopamine (DA) concentration in vitreous fluid was elevated only in the group with exposure, freezing, and autolysis. The increase of NA concentration in urine was fivefold during the whole exposure (from 19.4 ± 6.9 to 109 ± 57.3 ng/mL), but A was increased by twentyfold (from 10 ± 5.1 to 213.2 ± 168.7 ng/mL), whereas DA concentration did not change. The increase of average excretion of NA to urine was eightfold during the first 6 h of exposure, and that of A tenfold. According to the present results, elevated concentrations of catecholamines in the vitreous fluid and urine can be used as a diagnostic aid for hypothermia death. Concerning the values of noradrenaline in the vitreous, the increase as a result of autolysis must be taken in account when interpreting the results.