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Immunohistochemical detection of S100A1 in the postmortem diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction

Haitao Bi, Ying Yang, Jianye Huang, Yingmin Li, Chunling Ma and Bin Cong*

Author Affiliations

Department of Forensic Medicine, Hebei Medical University, No. 361 Zhongshan Road, Shijiazhuang, Hebei 050017, China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:84  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-84

Published: 17 May 2013



Sudden cardiac death resulting from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) constitutes a significant percentage of the caseload for forensic and clinical pathologists. When sudden death occurs at an early stage (<6 h), pathologists experience difficulty in the postmortem diagnosis of AMI. Because of the specific tissue distribution of S100A1 and its relationship with acute ischemic heart disease, this study aimed to evaluate the performance of S100A1 in the postmortem diagnosis of AMI.


We constructed a rat model of AMI through permanent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) to investigate the depletion of S100A1 from ischemic cardiomyocytes by immunohistochemistry and measuring S100A1 plasma concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at varying post-infarction intervals. In addition, immunohistochemical staining of S100A1 for definite infarction, suspected early infarction, and in normal human hearts, was also performed to test its practical feasibility for postmortem diagnosis of AMI at an early stage.


As early as 15 min after ligation of the LAD, depletion of S100A1 was observed in ischemic cardiomyocytes, and S100A1 plasma concentration was also significantly higher than that of the sham-operated group (P < 0.001). With continuation of the occlusion time, the depleted areas of S100A1 further expanded and S100A1 plasma concentrations further increased. For autopsy material, all human cases of definite myocardial infarction and suspected early infarction showed well-defined areas without S100A1 staining. None of the normal human cases showed diffuse depletion of S100A1.


Our results suggest that immunohistochemical detection of S100A1 is useful for the postmortem diagnosis of AMI at an early stage.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: webcite

Acute myocardial infarction; S100A1; Immunohistochemistry; Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay