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Evaluation of the agonal stress: can immunohistochemical detection of ubiquitin in the locus coeruleus be useful?

Michel Piette (UGent) , Stéphanie Pieters (UGent) and Els De Letter (UGent)
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Abstract
The determination of the survival time after a crime as well as the concomitant physical and mental load of the victim is an important task for the forensic pathologist. The heat shock protein, ubiquitin, exerts an essential role in the cellular response to stress. We aimed to investigate the usefulness of the ubiquitin expression in the locus coeruleus as a marker for the evaluation of agonal stress. Is the amount of ubiquitin in this brain locus an indication of the length and/or intensity of the agonal period following various causes of death? The immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of ubiquitin is examined in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded slides of the human locus coeruleus (n = 48). The evaluation of the IHC staining is blindly performed, prior to the study of the medico-legal files. According to the length of agony, a division into subgroups is made. Three possible IHC staining patterns are observed: a staining of the neuronal nucleus or the cytoplasm or both. In addition, the number of neurons with ubiquitin expression per mu m(2) is calculated in each locus coeruleus. Significant differences in the number of ubiquitin-immunoreactive neurons are noticed with respect to the length of the agony: A higher density of positive neurons is seen in case of a pronounced and extended death struggle.
Keywords
Agonal stress, Locus coeruleus, CELLS, BRAINS, PROTEINS, IMMUNOREACTIVITY, SYSTEM, PATHWAY, DEATH, PIGMENTED NEURONS, SUBSTANTIA-NIGRA, Immunohistochemistry, Ubiquitin, Forensic autopsy cases

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Citation

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Chicago
Piette, Michel, Stéphanie Pieters, and Els De Letter. 2011. “Evaluation of the Agonal Stress: Can Immunohistochemical Detection of Ubiquitin in the Locus Coeruleus Be Useful?” International Journal of Legal Medicine 125 (3): 333–340.
APA
Piette, M., Pieters, S., & De Letter, E. (2011). Evaluation of the agonal stress: can immunohistochemical detection of ubiquitin in the locus coeruleus be useful? INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE, 125(3), 333–340.
Vancouver
1.
Piette M, Pieters S, De Letter E. Evaluation of the agonal stress: can immunohistochemical detection of ubiquitin in the locus coeruleus be useful? INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE. 2011;125(3):333–40.
MLA
Piette, Michel, Stéphanie Pieters, and Els De Letter. “Evaluation of the Agonal Stress: Can Immunohistochemical Detection of Ubiquitin in the Locus Coeruleus Be Useful?” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE 125.3 (2011): 333–340. Print.
@article{1853331,
  abstract     = {The determination of the survival time after a crime as well as the concomitant physical and mental load of the victim is an important task for the forensic pathologist. The heat shock protein, ubiquitin, exerts an essential role in the cellular response to stress. We aimed to investigate the usefulness of the ubiquitin expression in the locus coeruleus as a marker for the evaluation of agonal stress. Is the amount of ubiquitin in this brain locus an indication of the length and/or intensity of the agonal period following various causes of death? The immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of ubiquitin is examined in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded slides of the human locus coeruleus (n = 48). The evaluation of the IHC staining is blindly performed, prior to the study of the medico-legal files. According to the length of agony, a division into subgroups is made. Three possible IHC staining patterns are observed: a staining of the neuronal nucleus or the cytoplasm or both. In addition, the number of neurons with ubiquitin expression per mu m(2) is calculated in each locus coeruleus. Significant differences in the number of ubiquitin-immunoreactive neurons are noticed with respect to the length of the agony: A higher density of positive neurons is seen in case of a pronounced and extended death struggle.},
  author       = {Piette, Michel and Pieters, St{\'e}phanie and De Letter, Els},
  issn         = {0937-9827},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE},
  keyword      = {Agonal stress,Locus coeruleus,CELLS,BRAINS,PROTEINS,IMMUNOREACTIVITY,SYSTEM,PATHWAY,DEATH,PIGMENTED NEURONS,SUBSTANTIA-NIGRA,Immunohistochemistry,Ubiquitin,Forensic autopsy cases},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {333--340},
  title        = {Evaluation of the agonal stress: can immunohistochemical detection of ubiquitin in the locus coeruleus be useful?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-010-0434-8},
  volume       = {125},
  year         = {2011},
}

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