Scientific article

Early markers of myocardial ischemia: from the experimental model to forensic pathology cases of sudden cardiac death

Published inInternational Journal of Legal Medicine, vol. 132, no. 1, p. 197-203
Publication date2018

The goal of this study was to assess whether early markers of myocardial ischemia, identified in a previous experimental work, can be applied in forensic pathology cases of sudden, ischemic cardiac death. These markers include desphosphorylated connexin 43 (Cx43), JunB, TUNEL assay, myoglobin, and troponin T. Fourteen cases of sudden cardiac death with gross and/or histological signs of myocardial infarction and 14 cases of sudden cardiac death with signs of early ischemia at histology and positive immunoreactions for fibronectin and C5b-9 were investigated. The control group was represented by 15 hanging (global hypoxia) cases. Immunohistochemical reactions were classified into four degrees and compared among groups. Cx43 and JunB were significantly more expressed in hanging than in ischemia/infarction, but they showed a different distribution in the tissue (sub-endocardial in ischemia/infarction, diffuse in hanging) and a different intensity of the signal. TUNEL assay was significantly more expressed in the group of early ischemia than in myocardial infarction. Myoglobin and troponin T did not show any significantly different expression among the three groups. Depletion markers have a limited application in forensic cases, and this is mostly because positive (depleted) areas are difficult to distinguish from artifactually paler areas. Nuclear markers (JunB and TUNEL), on the other hand, require a well-trained eye and a high magnification in order to be distinguished. Cx43, JunB, and TUNEL assays were confirmed to be early, sensitive markers for myocardial ischemia. Nonetheless, they are not specific, as they are expressed in global hypoxia as well, but with a different tissular distribution.

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers/metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Connexin 43/metabolism
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac/etiology
  • Female
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Heart Ventricles/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction/diagnosis
  • Myocardial Ischemia/diagnosis
  • Myoglobin/metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transcription Factors/metabolism
  • Troponin T/metabolism
Citation (ISO format)
SABATASSO, Sara et al. Early markers of myocardial ischemia: from the experimental model to forensic pathology cases of sudden cardiac death. In: International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2018, vol. 132, n° 1, p. 197–203. doi: 10.1007/s00414-017-1605-7
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0937-9827

Technical informations

Creation09/19/2018 8:39:00 AM
First validation09/19/2018 8:39:00 AM
Update time03/15/2023 1:54:37 PM
Status update03/15/2023 1:54:36 PM
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