Screening for Fatal Traumatic Brain Injuries in Cerebrospinal Fluid Using Blood-Validated CK and CK-MB Immunoassays
A single, specific, sensitive biochemical biomarker that can reliably diagnose a traumatic brain injury (TBI) has not yet been found, but combining different biomarkers would be the most promising approach in clinical and postmortem settings. In addition, identifying new biomarkers and developing laboratory tests can be time-consuming and economically challenging. As such, it would be efficient to use established clinical diagnostic assays for postmortem biochemistry. In this study, postmortem cerebrospinal fluid samples from 45 lethal TBI cases and 47 controls were analyzed using commercially available blood-validated assays for creatine kinase (CK) activity and its heart-type isoenzyme (CK-MB). TBI cases with a survival time of up to two hours showed an increase in both CK and CK-MB with moderate (CK-MB: AUC = 0.788, p < 0.001) to high (CK: AUC = 0.811, p < 0.001) diagnostic accuracy. This reflected the excessive increase of the brain-type CK isoenzyme (CK-BB) following a TBI. The results provide evidence that CK immunoassays can be used as an adjunct quantitative test aid in diagnosing acute TBI-related fatalities.