Primary cell cultures were investigated as a tool for molecular diagnostics in a forensic setting. Fibroblast cultures had been established from human Achilles tendon resected at autopsies, from cases of sudden infant death syndrome and control infants who died in traumatic events (n=41). After isolation of primary cultures cells were stored at -135°C, and re-established up to 15 years later for experimental intervention. Growth characteristics in cultures were evaluated in relation to the age of the donor, the post mortem interval before sampling, and the storage interval of cells before entry into the study. High interpersonal variation in growth rates and cell doubling time was seen, but no statistically significant differences were found with increasing age of the donor (mean 19 weeks), length of post-mortem interval prior to sampling (6-100h), or increase in years of storage. Fibroblast cultures established from post-mortem tissue are renewable sources of biological material; they can be the foundation for genetic, metabolic and other functional studies and thus constitute a valuable tool for molecular and pathophysiological investigations in biomedical and forensic sciences.
Forensic Science International, 2014, Vol 234, p. 149-53