We found small cytoplasmic vacuoles in the hormone-producing cells of anterior pituitary in hypothermic death. The vacuoles were found in approximately 40% of anterior pituitary cells both in males and females that had died from cold (n=31) while the detection rate was lower than 1% (P<0.001) in the other causes of death (n=180: fire death, n=25; fatal injury, n=24; asphyxia, n=20; poisoning, n=8; natural diseases, n=103). The detection rate in hypothermic death was the highest in ACTH cells (about 65%), followed by gonadotrophs (about 43%), and the lowest in TSH cells (about 16%) (P<0.001). These findings suggest that the cytoplasmic vacuoles in the anterior pituitary cells may be the most closely related to cold exposure among the above-mentioned cause of death, providing a supplementary evidence for determining the causes of death.
- Cytoplasmic vacuole
- Electron microscopy
- Human anterior pituitary
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects