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In situ postmortem ethanol quantification in the cerebrospinal fluid by non-water-suppressed proton MRS


Zoelch, Niklaus; Hock, Andreas; Steuer, Andrea E; Heimer, Jakob; Kraemer, Thomas; Thali, Michael J; Gascho, Dominic (2019). In situ postmortem ethanol quantification in the cerebrospinal fluid by non-water-suppressed proton MRS. NMR in Biomedicine, 32(5):e4081.

Abstract

Determination of the ethanol concentration in corpses with MRS would allow a reproducible forensic assessment by which evidence is collected in a noninvasive manner. However, although MRS has been successfully used to detect ethanol in vivo, it has not been applied to postmortem ethanol quantification in situ. The present study examined the feasibility of the noninvasive measurement of the ethanol concentration in human corpses with MRS. A total of 15 corpses with suspected alcohol consumption before demise underwent examination in a 3 T whole body scanner. To address the partial overlap of the ethanol and lactate signal in the postmortem spectrum, non‐water‐suppressed single voxel spectra were recorded in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the left lateral ventricle via the metabolite cycling technique. The ethanol signals were quantified using the internal water as reference standard, as well as based on a reference signal acquired in a phantom. The measured values were compared with biochemically determined concentrations in the blood (BAC) and CSF (CSFAC). In 8 of the 15 corpses a BAC above zero was determined (range 0.03–1.68 g/kg). In all of these 8 corpses, ethanol was measured in CSF with the proposed MRS protocol. The two applied MRS calibration strategies resulted in similar concentrations. However, the MRS measurements generally overestimated the ethanol concentration by 0.09 g/kg (4%) to 0.72 g/kg (45%) as compared with the CSFAC value. The presented MRS protocol allows the measurement of ethanol in the CSF in human corpses and provides an estimation of the ethanol concentration prior to autopsy. Observed deviations from biochemically determined concentrations are mainly explained by the approximate correction of the relaxation attenuation of the ethanol signal.

Abstract

Determination of the ethanol concentration in corpses with MRS would allow a reproducible forensic assessment by which evidence is collected in a noninvasive manner. However, although MRS has been successfully used to detect ethanol in vivo, it has not been applied to postmortem ethanol quantification in situ. The present study examined the feasibility of the noninvasive measurement of the ethanol concentration in human corpses with MRS. A total of 15 corpses with suspected alcohol consumption before demise underwent examination in a 3 T whole body scanner. To address the partial overlap of the ethanol and lactate signal in the postmortem spectrum, non‐water‐suppressed single voxel spectra were recorded in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the left lateral ventricle via the metabolite cycling technique. The ethanol signals were quantified using the internal water as reference standard, as well as based on a reference signal acquired in a phantom. The measured values were compared with biochemically determined concentrations in the blood (BAC) and CSF (CSFAC). In 8 of the 15 corpses a BAC above zero was determined (range 0.03–1.68 g/kg). In all of these 8 corpses, ethanol was measured in CSF with the proposed MRS protocol. The two applied MRS calibration strategies resulted in similar concentrations. However, the MRS measurements generally overestimated the ethanol concentration by 0.09 g/kg (4%) to 0.72 g/kg (45%) as compared with the CSFAC value. The presented MRS protocol allows the measurement of ethanol in the CSF in human corpses and provides an estimation of the ethanol concentration prior to autopsy. Observed deviations from biochemically determined concentrations are mainly explained by the approximate correction of the relaxation attenuation of the ethanol signal.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:510 Mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Spectroscopy, Molecular Medicine, Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
Language:English
Date:1 May 2019
Deposited On:24 Jun 2019 08:58
Last Modified:31 Aug 2019 07:26
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0952-3480
Additional Information:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Zoelch, N, Hock, A, Steuer, AE, et al. In situ postmortem ethanol quantification in the cerebrospinal fluid by non‐water‐suppressed proton MRS. NMR in Biomedicine. 2019; 32:e4081., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/nbm.4081. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. (http://www.wileyauthors.com/self-archiving)
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/nbm.4081
PubMed ID:30835926

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