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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Development of forensic diagnosis of acute sarin poisoning

Masataka Nagao, Takehiko Takatori, Yoshitaka Maeno, Ichiro Isobe, Hiroyoshi Koyama, Tsukasa Tsuchimochi
Legal Medicine 2003, 5: S34-40
12935549
On March 20, 1995, the Tokyo subway system was subjected to a horrifying terrorist attack with sarin gas (isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate) that left 12 persons dead and over 5000 injured. In order to diagnose the definite cause of death of the victims, a new method was developed to detect sarin hydrolysis products in the erythrocytes and formalin-fixed cerebella from four victims of sarin poisoning. Sarin-bound acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was solubilized from the specimens of sarin victims and digested with trypsin. The sarin hydrolysis products bound to AChE were released by alkaline phosphatase digestion. The digested sarin hydrolysis products were subjected to trimethylsilyl derivatization and detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Sarin hydrolysis products were detected in all sarin poisoning victims.

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