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Proteolytic Digestion of Serum Cardiac Troponin I as Marker of Ischemic Severity Open Access


Author or creator
Somaya Zahran
Vivian P. Figueiredo
Michelle M. Graham
Richard Schulz
Peter M. Hwang
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Cardiac Troponin
Myocardial Infarction
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Journal Article (Published)
Background: The serum troponin assay is the biochemical gold standard for detecting myocardial infarction (MI). A major diagnostic issue is that some believe troponin levels can rise with reversible injury, in the absence of radiologically detectable infarct. Hypothesis: Because cell death activates intracellular proteases, troponin released by irreversible infarct will be more proteolyzed than that released by milder processes. Our goal was to quantify proteolytic digestion of cardiac troponin I in patients with varying degrees of myocardial injury. Methods: Serum or plasma samples from 29 patients with cardiac troponin I elevations were analyzed for proteolytic degradation, using 3 different sandwich ELISAs designed to specifically detect the N-terminal, core, or C-terminal regions of cardiac troponin I. Results: As predicted, the degree of proteolytic digestion increased with increasing severity of injury, as estimated by the total troponin level, and this trend was more pronounced for C-terminal (vs N-terminal) degradation. The highest degree of proteolytic digestion was observed in patients with ST-elevation MI; the least, in type 2 MI (supply–demand ischemia rather than acute thrombus formation). Conclusions: The proteolytic degradation pattern of cardiac troponin I may be a better indicator of clinically significant MI than total serum troponin level. Distinguishing between intact and degraded forms of troponin may be useful for (a) identifying those patients with clinically significant infarct in need of revascularization, (b) monitoring intracellular proteolysis as a possible target for therapeutic intervention, and (c) providing an impetus for standardizing the epitopes used in the troponin I assay
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