Imaging mass spectrometry of elements in forensic cases by LA-ICP-MS
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Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was performed to map elements in thin formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections of two forensic cases with firearm and electrocution injuries, respectively. In both cases, histological examination of the wounded tissue regions revealed the presence of exogenous aggregates that may be interpreted as metallic depositions. The use of imaging LA-ICP-MS allowed us to unambiguously determine the elemental composition of the observed aggregates assisting the pathologist in case assessments. To the best of our knowledge, we demonstrate for the first time the use of imaging LA-ICP-MS as a complementary tool for forensic pathologists and toxicologists in order to map the presence of metals and other elements in thin tissue sections of post-mortem cases.
KeywordsImaging mass spectrometry LA-ICP Metal Tissue section Histology Trace elements
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required. All samples of deceased subjects were collected on request and in agreement with judicial authorities during autopsies made in our institute.
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