Histopathological changes as tools to discriminate antemortem and post-mortem wounds in rats: Prospective applications in forensic medicine


Wound age estimation is one of the chief exciting subjects in forensic medicine. It is substantial to determine the most likely accurate when wounds happened, whether during antemortem or post-mortem conditions. Moreover, histological change is a method that assists available parameters in determining the antemortem and post-mortem period. This study aims to observe the histopathological changes in induced wounds to determine when the injury occurred and whether the injury occurred during antemortem or post-mortem conditions. Thirty-nine rat wound skin biopsies were studied. All samples were taken in antemortem groups at 30, 60, 180, and 360 min, and in post-mortem groups within 30, 60, 180, and 360 min with control samples (unwounded group). The skin sections were seen by microscope to observe the changes in the following criteria: the ratio and distribution of the neutrophil and macrophage, congestion and dilatation of capillaries, and degree of autolysis. For the antemortem wounds, the number of neutrophils appeared at 30 minutes and sharply increased from 60 minutes after the wound. In addition, there was an increase in macrophages from 180 min after the wound. For the post-mortem wounds in all times examined, the degree of autolysis was the best criterion for knowing the wound timing. These results propose that histopathological changes can be used as a critical criterion for finding the time of wounds and comparing antemortem and post-mortem incisional wounds in forensic medicine.