Researchers from the University of Milan recently published a study measuring NeuN levels in cases of unexplained perinatal and infant death. Data was collected from 16 cases of SIUDS (sudden intrauterine unexplained death syndrome) and 19 cases of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Thirty control infants were also tested for the study.

NeuN staining showed lost or depleted results in SIUDS and SIDS patients compared to the control group. There did not appear to be any connection between decreased NeuN labeling in neurons and aptosis. However, researchers did note significant reductions in NeuN when mothers smoked.

In cases of sudden death, doctors may want to include NeuN immunohistochemistry to reinforce a diagnosis of SIUDS or SIDS.

Source: Lavezzi AM, Corna MF, Matturri L. Neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN): A useful marker of neuronal immaturity in sudden unexplained perinatal death. J Neurol Sci. 2013 Apr 7. pii: S0022-510X(13)00136-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2013.03.012.

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