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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2008 December;128(4):151-6

language: Italian

Immunohistochemical findings in mechanical asphyxia: role of the pulmonary surfactant

Manzoni S., Poglio A., Restori M.

Dipartimento di Medicina Legale Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italia


Aim. This study aims to evaluate the distribution of the pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) in fatal mechanical asphyxia, on the basis of previous studies that have shown an increment of the pulmonary protein as a result of asphyxia.
Methods. The SP-A antibodies have been used on pulmonary samples taken from 53 cases of mechanical asphyxia arrived at the Legal Medicine Institute of Brescia from July 2002 to July 2007; pulmonary samples taken from 20 cases of natural death and 18 cases of traumatic death.
Results. All the 91 samples have shown two patterns of staining, linear pattern and intra-alveolar aggregates. The semi-quantitative analysis of the aggregates has shown statistic significant differences between cases and controls. Among the mechanical asphyxia group a more intensive immunohistochemical reaction has been found, because of a larger number and a bigger size of aggregates. On the contrary, the evaluation of linear reaction has not shown a statistical difference between the two groups.
Conclusion. This work has revealed an efficacy of the use of SP-A antibodies to get a different diagnosis of mechanical asphyxia in forensic ambit.

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