The postmortem levels of biogenic amines in cerebrospinal fluid may represent a useful tool in defining some pathological conditions; no information is available concerning the occurrence of trace amines in postmortem cerebrospinal fluid. Thus, the occurrence of octopamine, synephrine and tyramine were evaluated by using a HPLC system in 20 postmortem samples of cerebrospinal fluid (obtained from 11 males and 9 females) and their levels were compared with those of 20 living subjects (obtained from 11 males and 9 females). The results show that trace amines dramatically increase in the postmortem cerebrospinal fluid (100, 20, and 4 fold increase for tyramine, octopamine, and synephrine respectively). To our knowledge, our data represent the first time trace amines have been identified in postmortem cerebrospinal fluid and the dramatic increase observed for tyramine has the potential of becoming a new tool in forensic science for better defining the time of death.
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