We describe the neuropathological findings in a 30-year-old man who died two months after attempting suicide with a shotgun. We focused our study on lesions associated with retained lead shot pellets and distant therefrom, as well as lesions distant from the principal site of injury. At the sites of the retained lead shot pellets, we found macrophage proliferation and astrocyte activation, together with axonal spheroids and signs of neuronal damage. In the remaining white matter we observed axonal swellings, astrocyte activation and rarefaction of the neuropil; regressive phenomena of the neurons were also present. All axonal spheroids immunoreacted with antibodies against APP. αB-crystallin, NF subunits and ubiquitin. Most reactive astrocytes were positive for GFAP and αB-crystallin immunostaining. Some neurons immunoreacting with αB-crystallin were also found. These data indicated that an important local reaction developed at the sites of lead shot retention, and mild signs of diffuse axonal damage were found throughout the brain.
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