Histochemical detection of platelet esterase activity in the bone marrow postmortem: can megakaryocytes serve as indicators for time since death?

Joachim Boehm*, Ulrike Schmidt, Juergen Veeck, Michele Porsche, Hans-Eckart Schaefer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


?-Naphthyl acetate esterase (ANAE) is one of the few enzymes that are histochemically detectable on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. In bone marrow (BM) biopsies, ANAE staining highlights megakaryocytes. We investigated autopsy BM to determine whether ANAE staining intensity (SI) was associated with postmortem intervals (PMI, period between death and autopsy), and thus could allow the time of death of a patient to be deduced.ANAE-stained BM slides of 74 forensic and pathology autopsies as well as 22 biopsies were histologically evaluated and their SIs semiquantitatively graded.ANAE-SIs did not differ between men and women and slightly decreased with age. Biopsies had significantly higher ANAE-SIs than pathology cases. In autopsies, ANAE-SIs were not associated with PMI, except for cases with PMI ?7 days which were consistently ANAE-negative.ANAE-SIs in postmortem BM samples were independent of PMI. Thus, ANAE staining of BM megakaryocytes cannot serve as an indicator for time-since-death of a patient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-714
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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