forensic medicine, forensic medical examination, postmortem interval, thanatology.


Purpose: The postmortem interval (PMI) evaluation is one of priorities while performing a forensic medical examination of corpse. To date, there is lack of information of morphological postmortem changes of some internal organs. Considering the persistent need to develop the method for a precise assessment of PMI, postmortem changes in these potentially informative organs were evaluated. The aim of study was to analyze morphological postmortem changes in prostate and uterus.

Materials and Methods: histological samples of 40 prostate tissues and 40 uterus (n=80) from corpses of deceased aged 18-75 years. Only cases with known time of death were included to study, the time of death was taken from police reports. Exclusion criteria were cases of violent death, cases of death with massive blood loss, tumors of studied internal organs, cases when diagnosis was not made by a forensic medical examiner. The PMI of studied cases ranged from 1 to 6 days. Histological slides were made with a staining by hematoxylin and eosin, x200 magnification, using Olympus ВХ41 and Olympus ВХ46 microscopes, Olympus SC50 camera. Postmortem morphological changes were evaluated by a calculation of blank spaces percentage in microscopical structures using a JS-based program. Connection between PMI and morphological changes was calculated by the Spearman’s rank correlation.

Results: the average percentage of blank spaces in uterus tissues was smaller than in prostate tissues (1,99 and 9,65 relatively). The slower growing of blank spaces was in uterus. In prostate samples, a notable increase of blank spaces was observed between 48 and 72 hours after the death. After this period, the increase slowed down and then an increase was observed again between 120 and 144 hours after the death. In uterus samples, a slight acceleration observed between 72 and 120 hours after the death and then slowing down between 120 and 144 hours after the death. Blank spaces in evaluated histological slides were increasing directly proportional to the PMI, a statistically significant interconnection was defined (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The morphological postmortem changes in prostate and uterus were developing at certain time frames. Blank spaces percentage, in studied histological slides, were increasing directly proportional to the PMI increase, a statistically significant interconnection was defined. Therefore, the results of study show the possibility of the evaluation of a postmortem time interval by assessing such morphological changes in these organs, which could be used in forensic medical cases.


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