ATP levels and its degradation process as a post-mortem interval indicator

  • Usman Shahid Butt
  • Anam Iqbal
  • Sadia Zaheer KMSMC, Sialkot
  • Shahid Nazir
  • Allah Rakha
Keywords: ATP degradation, PMI, post-mortem


Background: There are many scientific methods in practice to determine the time of death, but no methods alone will precisely state it. Researchers are trying direct and indirect methods to estimate the post-mortem interval (PMI) by gathering evidence to find a more accurate way out to measure time since death. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) transfers energy within the body, and is a crucial indicator in estimating PMI. This study aims to find out the levels of blood ATP after death at certain periods to help determine the PMI. Methods: This experimental study was carried out at the Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Health Sciences, Lahore. Thirty-six rabbits with good health were taken and divided into six groups. Blood samples were obtained at regular intervals. The relationship between PMI and ATP degradation levels was analysed statistically. Results: At 0 hours, the mean ATP levels were recorded as 44.59 which declined linearly with the time recorded until 72 hours (1.51) post-mortem. The mean ATP levels at different post-mortem intervals were significantly different (p<0.001). Conclusion: ATP levels decline in blood post-mortem and can be used to determine PMI.

Pak J Physiol 2021;17(1)


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Butt U, Iqbal A, Zaheer S, Nazir S, Rakha A. ATP levels and its degradation process as a post-mortem interval indicator. PJP [Internet]. 31Mar.2021 [cited 27Jul.2021];17(1):23-5. Available from: