[Histonet] postmortem tissue collection

Rogerson Kemlo (ELHT) Pathology Kemlo.Rogerson <@t> elht.nhs.uk
Wed Jul 20 02:29:01 CDT 2005

Interestingly I was reading about tissue death after death (so as to
speak) on a Web Site dealing with Death (I'm strange like that); I was
interested in rigor. I hadn't realised that some tissue deep within the
cadaver can survive for many hours after death. I suppose it's those
tissues that require little or no oxygen to survive; brain dies very
rapidly. If I could remember the Site then I'd tell you but a search in
Google under rigor may help. Wonder which bit of you dies last? Same in
men and women?

-----Original Message-----
From: Y. Wang [mailto:ynwang <@t> u.washington.edu] 
Sent: 20 July 2005 00:20
To: Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] postmortem tissue collection

Dear histonetters,

I have a question regarding collection of human tissue. A colleague
like to collect human tissue (skin and underlying adipose tissue) for 
mechanical testing, histological analysis (cellular and structural 
evaluation), IHC and protein analysis (extracellular matrix structure
concentrations). They asked what would be a fair cut off time for tissue

collection so that the effects of decay would not be a factor. Currently

they have given the tissue bank a time of 12 hours postmortem (I'm not 
very sure how the body is stored during this time or how this is 

I've read that human decomposition starts approx. 4 min after death and 
autolysis is quicker in tissues with high enzyme and water content. 
However, in terms of the skin and underlying adipose tissue I didn't
if there was an accepted 'cut off time' postmortem after which tissue 
is considered far from representative of 'live' tissue and not worth 

Can anyone give some insight? Any information or references would be 
greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Senior Fellow
Department of Bioengineering
University of Washington
Box 357962
Seattle, WA 98195

Tel.: (206)-221-5873
Fax.: (206)-221-5874

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