[Histonet] postmortem tissue collection

From:"Y. Wang"

Dear histonetters,

I have a question regarding collection of human tissue. A colleague would 
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 and 
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 know 
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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