Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 241–247 | Cite as

Two-tailed delimitation of the time of death by immunohistochemical detection of somatostatin and GFAP

  • Frank Wehner
  • Anja Steinriede
  • David Martin
  • Heinz-Dieter Wehner
Original Article
  • 55 Downloads

Abstract

Delimitating the time of death becomes increasingly difficult and inaccurate, the further back it lays in time. To contribute to available techniques, pancreas and brain tissue from 500 corpses, whose time of death lay within 1 day and 23 days ±1 day, were immunohistochemically stained with anti-somatostatin and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) antibodies. Somatostatin and GFAP are recognized as antigen by the employed antibodies. This does not occur when proteolytic processes after death disturb the tertiary structure, altering its antigen properties. In our cases, stainability of somatostatin in the pancreas was always given within 2 days after death. Hence, given a negative immunoreaction, death can be assumed to have occurred a minimum of 3 days before formaldehyde fixation, which stops the proteolysis. A negative immunoreaction occurred consistently after 11 days, indicating that if a positive reaction is obtained in a specimen, the death of the respective person must have occurred amaximum of 10 days before fixation. GFAP was always stainable in the frontal cortex within 3 days after death, which means that in the case of a negative immunoreaction, death can be assumed to have occurred a minimum of 4 days before fixation. A negative immunoreaction occurred consistently after 14 days, indicating that if a positive reaction is obtained in a specimen the death of the respective person must have occurred a maximum of 13 days before fixation. The presented methods provide further improvements of the possibilities of delimitating the time of death, whereby the combination of both methods allows a two-tailed delimitation.

Key Words

Forensic pathology delimitation of the time of death immunohistochemistry somatostatin GFAP 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Henßge C. Die Präzision der Todeseinschätzung durch die mathematische Beschreibung der rektalen Leichenabkühlung. Z Rechtsmed 1979;83:49–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Henßge C. Temperatur-Todeszeit-Nomogramm für Bezugsstandarbedingungen der Leichenlagerung. Kriminalistik und forensische Wissensch 1982;46:109–115.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rutty GN: The estimation of the time since death using temperatures recorded from the external auditory canal: Part I: Can a temperature be recorded and interpreted from this site. Forensic Sci Med Path 2005;1:41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rutty GN. The estimation of the time since death using temperatures recorded from the external auditory canal: Part II: Using single temperatures from this site to estimate the time since death with consideration of environmental or body “factors” that could affect the estimation. Forensic Sci Med Path 2005;1:113–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Klein A, Klein S. Die To deszeitbestimmung am menschlichen Auge. Diss Med (B), Med Akademie Dresden, 1978.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dürwald W. Gerichtliche, Medizin. Barth, Leipzig, 1981.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ith M, Bigler P, Scheurer E, et al: Observation and identification of metabolites emerging during postmortem decomposition of brain tissue by means of in situ 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Magn Reson Med 2002;48:915–920.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ith M, Scheurer E, Kreis R, et al. 1H-MR-Spektroskopie in der forensischen Medizin I: Eine neue Methode zur Schätzung der postmortalen Liegezeit. V. 85, 80. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin Interlaken, Rechtsmed 2001;11:161.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Scheurer E, Ith M, Kreis R, et al. 1H-MR-Spektroskopie in der forensischen Medizin II: Eine Pilotstudie zur Todeszeitschätzung am Gehirn von Schafen und Menschen. V 86, 80. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin Interlaken, Rechtsmed 2001;11:162.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Scheurer E, Ith M, Kreis R, Bigler P, Boesch C, Dirnhofer R. 1H, Magnetresonanz Spektroskopie des Gehirns in situ zur Schätzung des postmortalen Intervalls. V 45, 81. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin Rostock-Warnemünde Rechtsmed 2002;12:267.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wehner F, Schieffer M Chr, Wehner H-D, Subke J. Delimitation of the time of death by immunohistochemical insulin detection in pancreatic β-cells. Forensic Sci Int 1999;105:161–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wehner F, Wehner H-D, Subke J. Delimitation of the time of death by immunohistochemical detection of glucagon in pancreatic β-cells. Forensic Sci Int 2002;124:192–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wehner F, Wehner H-D, Schieffer M Chr, Subke J. Delimitation of the time of death by immunohistochemical detection of thyroglobulin. Forensic Sci Int 2000;110:199–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wehner F, Wehner H-D, Subke J. Delimitation of the time of death by immunohistochemical detection of calcitonin. Forensic Sci Int 2001;122:89–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Namekawa M, Takiyama Y, Aoki Y, et al. Identification of GFAP gene mutation in hereditary adult-onset Alexander's disease. Ann Neurol 2002;52:779–785.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jacque CM. The glial fibrillary acidic protein. Presse Med 1991;20:1384–1390.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Eng LF. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP): the major protein of glial intermediate filaments in different astrocytes. J Neuroimmunol 1985;8:203–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wu VW, Schwartz JP. Cell culture models from reactive gliosis: new perspectives. J Neurosci Res 1998;51:675–681.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pekny M. Astrocytic intermediate filaments: lessons from GFAP and vimentin knock-out mice. Prog Brain Res 2001;132:23–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Wehner
    • 1
  • Anja Steinriede
    • 1
  • David Martin
    • 2
  • Heinz-Dieter Wehner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Legal Medicine, TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.The Universe Children's ClinicTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations