Circulating cytochrome c as potential biomarker of impaired reperfusion in ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction

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In patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI) treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI), abrupt reperfusion can induce myocardial injury and apoptotic cell death. Reperfusion-induced myocardial damage, however, cannot be easily evaluated in clinical practice because of the lack of specific biomarkers. Cytochrome c, a mitochondrial protein, is released on reperfusion into the cytosol, where it triggers the apoptotic process. It can reach the external fluid and circulating blood when cell rupture occurs. We measured the cytochrome c circulating levels in patients with STEMI undergoing pPCI, and correlated them with the clinical signs of myocardial necrosis and reperfusion. The plasma creatine kinase-MB mass and serum cytochrome c (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method) were serially measured in 55 patients with STEMI undergoing pPCI. The angiographic and electrocardiographic signs of myocardial reperfusion were also assessed. Cytochrome c transiently increased in all patients with STEMI, with a curve that paralleled that of creatine kinase-MB. A significant relation was found between the peak values of the 2 biomarkers (R = 0.35, p = 0.01) and between the areas under the 2 curves (R = 0.33, p = 0.02). The creatine kinase-MB peak value correlated significantly with the clinical features of infarct extension. In contrast, the cytochrome c peak value correlated inversely with the myocardial blush grade. Patients with clinical signs of myocardial reperfusion injury had a significantly greater cytochrome c peak value than patients without reperfusion injury (median 1.65 ng/ml, interquartile range 1.20 to 2.20, vs 1.1 ng/ml, interquartile range 0.65 to 1.55; p = 0.04). In conclusion, serum cytochrome c is detectable in the early phase of STEMI treated with pPCI and is associated with clinical signs of impaired myocardial reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1449
Number of pages7
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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