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How long do cells survive after organism death?

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How long do cells survive after organism death?

Postby Marie87 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:02 am

Hi,
when an animal dies, how long does it take for the cells to also die? There must be a timr frame so that things like organ transplantations can be performed, but it would be interesting to know how long this timeframe is and how long a single cell can survive when the nutrient supply is cut, is the circulation stops? Thank you!
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Postby biohazard » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:57 am

That is actually quite an interesting question. Someone familiar with organ transplants might know more about this. However, at least it is quite certain that tissues with high oxygen demand will die quickly: brain cells and other neurons are probably permanently damaged within several minutes. On the other hand, cells that need very little or no oxygen and other nutrients could survive for hours. At least living blood cells and probably some skin cells and such can be fround from a body that has been dead for hours or even more than a day depending on the environment.

Temperature has quite a big effect on this. If a person (or pretty much any other creature) dies at temperatures bit over zero centigrades the cells can stay alive for a fairly long time. Even the neurons can stay alive that way for much longer than in ambient temperatures.

For complete organs I think the time frame between death and harvesting can be several hours, but not much more. Wikipedia says the time frame is usually 24 hours after the last heartbeat, but that sounds quite long time to me. Anyway, many blood cells should be just fine after even a day or two, if the death happens in suitable circumstances (= cold but not freezing, no serious bleeding etc).
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Re: How long do cells survive after organism death?

Postby czarneptuna » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:49 pm

Hi there, Speaking of death prediction, I find it really odd that one of the on-line death prediction services showed me the same death date that I was foretold in my dream about a year ago. [spam] - I can’t explain this coincidence in any other way except that there must be some kind of magic involved here.
Last edited by JackBean on Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: link removed
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Re: How long do cells survive after organism death?

Postby jonmoulton » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:06 pm

The life-duration measurement brings to mind an old science fiction story, the first published by Robert A. Heinlein:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-Line
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