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ISSN: 2157-7145

Journal of Forensic Research
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Research Article

Postmortem Urinary Cortisol Levels in Relation to the Cause of Death

Lotte Markussen Lang and Kristian Linnet*

Section of Forensic Chemistry, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

*Corresponding Author:
Kristian Linnet
Section of Forensic Chemistry
Department of Forensic Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Copenhagen
Frederik V’s vej 11, 3. DK-2100, Denmark
Tel: +45 3532 6493
Fax: +45 3532 6085
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: June 22, 2013; Accepted date: August 21, 2013; Published date: August 26, 2013

Citation: Lang LM, Linnet K (2013) Postmortem Urinary Cortisol Levels in Relation to the Cause of Death. J Forensic Res 4:189. doi: 10.4172/2157-7145.1000189

Copyright: © 2013 Lang LM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

In 239 postmortem cases, we used liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry to measure urinary cortisol concentrations standardized to creatinine, which were then related to causes of death. For comparison, we also analyzed urine samples from 95 living subjects implicated in criminal cases. The median of the postmortem group (18.8 μmol cortisol/mol creatinine) was not significantly different from that of the living group (18.1 μmol cortisol/ mol creatinine), but the highest value in the postmortem group was more than ten times higher than that in the living group (3730 versus 354 μmol cortisol/mol creatinine). Among the postmortem cases, 28% had values exceeding the previously reported upper 95% range for normal living subjects (52.8 μmol cortisol/mol creatinine), as did 12%of the living group. The postmortem cases were divided into subgroups according to cause of death:asphyxiation, blunt force trauma, brain hemorrhage, cardiac-related death, drowning, fire-related death, gun or knife trauma, infection, internal bleeding, ketoacidosis, miscellaneous and poisoning. The median cortisol levels of the ketoacidosisand the infection subgroups (respectively, 152 and 243 μmol cortisol/mol creatinine) were significantly higher than the median of the other subgroups (15.5 μmol cortisol/mol creatinine); however, the spread of data does not allow for any conclusions on an individual case level.

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