Estimation of the time of death is one of the most important problems for forensic medicine and law. Physical and chemical postmortem changes are evaluated together while estimating the time of death.
In this study, in vitro storage and postmortem changes of white blood cells were aimed to be compared within the given postmortem interval, and a follow-up study was carried out. Blood smears which were obtained from 10 non-refrigerated cadavers (experimental group) and from 40 hospital patients (control group) have been evaluated to observe and compare changes during the in vitro storage and postmortem degenerative morphological changes that white blood cells undergo throughout the given postmortem intervals, The samples were examined by using a light microscope, and blood cells were differentiated by staining blood films with May-Grunwald stain, followed by Giemsa stain. Identifiable degenerated eosinophils and monocytes were first examined at 6 h of death and the in vitro storage, and they were unidentifiable beyond 72 h of storage. Identifiable degeneration of neutrophils were first examined at 6 h of death and storage while unidentifiable beyond 96 h of storage. Identifiable degeneration of lymphocytes were first examined at 24 h of death, and they were still identifiable beyond 120 h.
Cellular changes of leukocytes can be useful in the 6-120 h for estimating the time of in vitro storage, and the findings match during the first 21 h for both experimental and control groups. Finally, this follow-up study and the comparison will also be carried out for a longer postmortem interval, and other specific hypothesis that relate cellular changes in tissues other than blood with time since death are various points that needs to be studied. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.