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Int J Legal Med. 1997;110(6):299-304.

Time dependence of the expression of ICAM-1 (CD 54) in human skin wounds.

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  • 1Department of Legal Medicine, Technical University Medical School, Dresden, Germany.


To characterize the vitality and age of skin wounds by means of the ICAM-1 pattern, 157 intravital human skin wounds (time since injury ranging from 5 min to 730 days) were immunohistochemically investigated. ICAM-1 was detected in paraffin sections after autoclaving and using the ABC technique in 86% of the wounds investigated. The correlation between ICAM-1 expression and the degree of wound inflammation is weak. Strong positive staining was observed 1.5 h at the earliest and 3.5 days at the latest after the time of injury. ICAM-1 also appeared at low concentrations in samples of uninjured skin (n = 65), on keratinocytes and the endothelial cells of blood vessels. Moderate to strong ICAM-1 expression is a valuable indication of the vitality of the wound. However, at present the detection of ICAM-1 alone is not sufficient to fix the wound age with the accuracy which is required for forensics applications.

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