Artificial Cerebral Changes

Artificial changes, gross and histologic, result from postmortem autolysis, insufficient fixation and prolonged histological processing. "Swiss cheese" changes are multiple smooth-walled cavities caused postmortem by gas-producing organisms. Tissue reactions are typically absent, and microorganisms may clog the lumens of small blood vessels (Fig. 2.23).

Among histologic changes, the dissolution of granular cells in the cerebellar cortex results from postmortem autolysis. Buscaino bodies—round, mucinous structures in the white matter—result from postmortem myelin degradation. Prolonged histologic processing shrinks the parenchyma, producing dilated perivascular and pericellular spaces. Dark, spiky neurons with corkscrew dendrites are seen at the edge of surgical specimens (see Fig. 2.23).

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