Endocan concentrations in postmortem serum, vitreous humor and urine in victims of lethal hypothermia

J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Aug;50:39-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2017.07.002. Epub 2017 Jul 4.


Endocan is a soluble molecule secreted from vascular endothelial cells of various organs. Its exact function in humans remains to be elucidated, though it has been postulated that increased tissue expression or serum levels of this molecule may be an indicator of endothelial activation and neovascularization. In the realm of forensic pathology, studies pertaining to endothelial activation following exposure to cold exclusively focused on thrombomodulin, a transmembrane protein specific to endothelial cells. In the study herein described, endocan concentrations were determined in postmortem serum, urine and vitreous humor samples collected during autopsy in a series of cases that underwent medicolegal investigations. A total of 76 autopsy cases were selected and three study groups (hypothermia group, sepsis group and non-hypothermia/non-sepsis group) prospectively formed during the study period. The obtained results seem to indicate that exposure to cold and subsequent death is not distinguished by significant endothelial dysfunction causing enhanced endocan secretion.

Keywords: Autopsy; Endocan; Endothelium; Hypothermia; Postmortem biochemistry; Postmortem serum; Urine; Vitreous humor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Female
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / diagnosis
  • Hypothermia / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Vitreous Body / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • ESM1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteoglycans