To evaluate the forensic pathological significance of the immunohistochemical distribution of pulmonary surfactant-associated protein A (SP-A) in determining the cause of death in fires, 57 fire victims were examined by scoring the staining intensity. The highest SP-A score with dense granular deposits (aggregates) in the intra-alveolar space was frequently observed in cases with a lower blood carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level (<60%). The SP-A score was relatively low in carbon monoxide intoxication due to causes other than fires. High SP-A scores showed a relation to the serum level and in part related to the bloody exudate in the lower airway. These observations suggested that the increase in SP-A in fire victims may be mainly related to pulmonary alveolar injury due to the inhalation of hot air and/or irritant gases rather than hypoxia.
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