Novel chemical-physical autopsy investigation in sudden infant death and sudden intrauterine unexplained death syndromes
Aim: Verify the presence of inorganic nanoparticle entities in brain tissue samples from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)/sudden intrauterine unexplained death syndrome (SIUDS) cases. The presence of inorganic debris could be a cofactor that compromises proper brain tissue functionality. Materials & methods: A novel autopsy approach that consists of neuropathological analysis procedures combined with energy dispersive spectroscopy/field emission gun environmental scanning electron microscopy investigations was implemented on 10 SIDS/SIUDS cases, whereas control samples were obtained from 10 cases of fetal/infant death from known cause. Results: Developmental abnormalities of the brain were associated with the presence of foreign bodies. Although nanoparticles were present as well in control samples, they were not associated with histological brain anomalies, as was the case in SIDS/SIUDS. Conclusion: Inorganic particles present in brain tissues demonstrate their ability to cross the hemato– encephalic barrier and to interact with tissues and cells in an unknown yet pathological fashion. This gives a rationale to consider them as cofactors of lethality.