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

Journal of Clinical Pathology
Joachim BoehmHans-Eckart Schaefer


α-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.


Jul 1, 1984·Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology·G F Fries, G S Marrow
Jan 22, 2000·Forensic Science International : Synergy·F WehnerJ Subke
Jun 8, 2000·Forensic Science International : Synergy·F WehnerJ Subke
May 9, 2001·Leukemia & Lymphoma·C C Uphoff, H G Drexler
Oct 24, 2001·Forensic Science International : Synergy·F WehnerJ Subke
Jan 17, 2002·Forensic Science International : Synergy·F WehnerJ Subke

Related Concepts

Blood Platelets
Naphthol AS D Esterase
Livor Mortis
Forensic Pathology Discipline
Bone Marrow
Cessation of Life

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