Postmortem changes of amino compounds in human and rat brain

J Neurochem. 1981 Feb;36(2):406-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1981.tb01608.x.


Contents of 35 amino acids and related compounds were measured in whole rat brain, and in superficial areas of biopsied and autopsied human brain, after incubation for various intervals at temperatures simulating those likely to occur in cadavers under mortuary conditions. These data should aid interpretation of values for amino compounds determined in autopsied brain from patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders. The contents of glutamic acid, glutamine, taurine, phosphoethanolamine, cystathionine, and homocarnosine remain unchanged for long periods in human brain. Aspartic acid content is stable for 4 h after death, but thereafter rises rapidly. Glycine content rises rapidly, as do the contents of most amino acid components of proteins. Glutathione content drops rapidly in human brain after death. GABA content is stable for about 30 min, and rises to a maximum 2 to 3 h after death, after which it remains unchanged for at least 24 h. In rat brain, GABA content rises more rapidly, aspartate content rises more slowly, homocarnosine content decreases progressively, and glycerophosphoethanolamine content decreases more rapidly than in human brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amines / analysis*
  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Autopsy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Glutathione / analysis
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Postmortem Changes*
  • Rats
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis


  • Amines
  • Amino Acids
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glutathione
  • Glycine