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Betz, P.; Nerlich, A.; Wilske, J.; Tübel, J.; Penning, R.; Eisenmenger, Wolfgang (1993): The immunohistochemical analysis of fibronectin, collagen type III, laminin, and cytokeratin 5 in putrified skin. In: Forensic Science International, Vol. 61, No. 1: pp. 35-42


Fibronectin, collagen type III, laminin, and cytokeratin 5 were visualized in normal skin and in skin showing early or advanced signs of autolytic decomposition to prove whether the immunohistochemical analysis of these antigens can provide useful information for an age-estimation of skin wounds obtained from putrified corpses. In cases with early signs of decomposition (visible course of veins, greenish discoloration) and without microscopic alterations like relaxation of the epidermal cell layers or destruction of the blood vessel structures, the staining pattern was identical to that found in normal, non-putrefied skin. In skin already showing microscopic alteration of the tissue structure, fibronectin and collagen type III could not be localized unambiguously. The distribution of laminin and cytokeratin 5, however, was well preserved. In advanced putrefied skin no reliable staining results could be obtained for fibronectin, collagen type III, and laminin. Even though cytokeratin 5 was still detectable in remnants of decomposition-resistant skin appendages, no information useful for an age-estimation of skin wounds can be obtained due to the autolytic detachment of the epidermal layers.