Forensic application of VEGF expression to skin wound age determination
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An immunohistochemical study combined with morphometry was carried out to examine the time-dependent expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) using 53 human skin wounds with different wound ages (groups I: 0–12 h, II: 1–4 days, III: 7–14 days and IV: 17–21 days). In the human wound specimens aged 4–12 h, neutrophils recruited at the wound showed no positive signals for VEGF. With an increase in wound ages of ≥7 days, granulation tissue and angiogenesis were observed, with the migration of macrophages and fibroblasts of which the cytoplasm expressed VEGF-positive reactions. Morphometrically, the average VEGF-positive ratio was highest in group III, followed by that of group IV. In groups III and IV, 13 out of 26 wound samples had VEGF-positive ratios of more than 50%. However, all of the wound samples in groups I and II showed VEGF-positive ratios of less than 50%. With regard to the practical applicability and forensic validity, these observations suggest that a VEGF-positive ratio of more than 50% possibly indicates a wound age of 7 days or more.
KeywordsForensic pathology Wound age determination Immunohistochemistry VEGF Angiogenesis
This study was financially supported by Grants-in-Aid for Encouragement of Young Scientists from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan.
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