Post-mortem timing of skeletal muscle biochemical and mechanical degradation

Lori J. Tuttle, Marianna Alperin, Richard L. Lieber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Fresh cadaveric human tissue is a valuable resource that is used to address important clinical questions. However, it is unknown how post-mortem time impacts skeletal muscle mechanical and biochemical properties. We simulated morgue conditions in rabbits and tested the passive mechanical properties of muscle bundles, and the degradation of myosin heavy chain, collagen, and titin at specific intervals up to 7 days post-mortem. While a great deal of inter-specimen variability was observed, it was independent of post-mortem time. Passive mechanics, myosin heavy chain, and collagen content were all unaffected while the titin protein degraded up to 80% over 7 days post-mortem. These data indicate that fresh cadaveric tissue may be used for passive mechanical testing and that certain biochemical properties are unchanged up to 7 days after death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1506-1509
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 11 2014


  • Collagen
  • Muscle
  • Myosin heavy chain
  • Titin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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