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Forensic Sci Int. 1993 Oct;61(2-3):111-7.

Differentiation between bruises and putrefactive discolorations of the skin by immunological analysis of glycophorin A.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


In a differential study to distinguish bruises from putrefactive discoloration, glycophorin A, a component of the erythrocyte membrane, was extracted from discolored skins and detected by immunological methods utilizing an anti-glycophorin A serum. Skin samples of 18 bruises, 8 postmortem hypostasises and 7 putrefactive discolorations were removed from 27 bodies in which postmortem intervals ranged from 4 h to 2.5 months. In 13 out of the 18 bruises (72.2%), glycophorin A was detected by the immunological methods. It was noted that glycophorin A was detectable even in a severely putrefied body 10 days after death. In contrast, no glycophorin A was detected in any of the postmortem lividities or the putrefactive discolorations. These results suggest that the absence of glycophorin A does not always indicate a skin discoloration of postmortem origin, but a positive glycophorin A reaction does indicate a skin discoloration due to bruise.

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