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The Application of Histochemical Methods to the Age Evaluation of Skin Wounds: Experimental Study in Rabbits

Psaroudakis, Kostas D.M.V.; Tzatzarakis, Manolis N. Ph.D.; Tsatsakis, Aristidis M. Ph.D; Michalodimitrakis, Manolis N. M.D., J.D.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2001 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 341-345

Enzyme histochemical methods allow determination of wound age, especially in the range of a few hours, and are used to distinguish between postmortem and antemortem skin wounds. The methods are based on the determination of the presence and changes of the enzyme reaction in the wound area. Increased activity of nonspecific esterases was observed approximately 1 hour after wounding and was followed by an increase in adenosine triphosphatase at approximately 2 hours and alkaline phosphatase at approximately 3.5 hours. Maximum enzyme activity was reached for nonspecific esterases at 24 hours, for adenosine triphosphatase at 20 hours, and for alkaline phosphatase at 32 hours after wounding.

From the Department of Forensic Sciences (K.P., M.N.M.) and Laboratory of Toxicology (M.N.T., A.M.T.), University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, and Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (K.P.), Athens, Greece.

Manuscript received September 22, 2001; accepted April 5, 2001.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Aristidis M. Tsatsakis, Ph.D., Toxicology Laboratory, Medical School, University of Crete, 714 09 Heraklion, Crete, P.O. Box 1393, Greece; email: or

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.