Morphology of sweat glands in determining time of death.

Abstract:

:This study demonstrates post-mortem autolytic alterations in the skin at cellular and subcellular levels and identifies parameters which may assist in determining the time of death in the first few hours post-mortem. Serial skin samples from the ventral surface of the arm were taken at intervals of 3, 6, 9 and 12 h after death in 29 subjects of various ages, with no signs of skin disease; causes of death were various. Three types of tests were performed: cytochemical (hematoxylin-eosin and alcian-PAS), immunohistochemical (S-100, CEA, Cytokeratin, ASM) and ultrastructural (electron microscopy). Electron microscopy proved useful for identifying transformations which were found to be specific for each chronological step considered: reduction of intracellular glycogen in clear cells and reduction of secretory granules in dark cells are typical signs of the first stage (3 h) after death; mitochondrial dilatation and rarefaction of cristae in clear and dark cells are typical of the second stage (6 h); rarefaction of microvilli in dark and clear cells is a sign of the last stage (12 h). Cytochemistry and immunohistochemistry supply useful information--not for all the chronological stage considered here, but for individual phases (3 h for hematoxylin-eosin and 6 h for alcian-PAS). However, it is particularly important to use the results from all such techniques simultaneously, so that the question of the exact time of death within the first 12 h post-mortem may be more accurately answered.

journal_name

Int J Legal Med

authors

Cingolani M,Osculati A,Tombolini A,Tagliabracci A,Ghimenton C,Ferrara SD

doi

10.1007/BF01225600

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1994-01-01 00:00:00

pages

132-40

issue

3

eissn

0937-9827

issn

1437-1596

journal_volume

107

pub_type

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