Volume 33, Issue 6 (November 1988)
Stability of Plasma Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Apolipoproteins B and A-I During the Early Postmortem Period
The stability of plasma lipids and apolipoproteins during the early postmortem period was studied by taking four duplicate blood samples from eight cadavers 2, 6, 12, and 24 h after death. The bodies were kept at +4°C. The plasma samples were analyzed for total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), apolipoprotein B (apo B), and apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I).
In TC, values rose by 6 and 11% in two cases, and in six cases diminished 3 to 15% during the first 6 h compared to values obtained 2 h postmortem. The greatest changes were a continuing rise in one case by 33% and a fall by 21% in another case during 24 h. In TG values marked changes took place including one case with a rise of 67% within 24 h. The concentrations of apo B rose by 9 to 11% in three cases and fell by 3 and 4% in two cases during 6 h, but during the whole study period a rise up to 78% occurred. In the concentrations of apo A-I, cases fell by as much as 42% in 6 h, and in one case rose by 20% during 6 h. The results indicate that unpredictable fluctuations occur in plasma lipid and apolipoprotein values within 24 h after death, and they should be interpreted cautiously if the samples have been taken after a prolonged postmortem period.