International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 5, pp 1333–1339 | Cite as

Immunohistochemical study on dystrophin expression in CAD-related sudden cardiac death: a marker of early myocardial ischaemia

  • Cristina Mondello
  • Luigi Cardia
  • Giovanni Bartoloni
  • Alessio Asmundo
  • Elvira Ventura SpagnoloEmail author
Original Article


The aims of this study were to assess if dystrophin can be a tool for the forensic evaluation of sudden cardiac death due to coronary atherosclerotic disease (CAD) and particularly if it can be a marker of early myocardial ischaemia. Then in this investigation, the dystrophin was compared to C5b-9 and fibronectin to analyze if there are some differences in the expression of these proteins. Two groups of CAD-related sudden cardiac death, respectively the group 1 with gross and/or histological evidence and the group 2 with no specific histological signs of myocardial ischaemia were used. A third group formed by cases of acute mechanical asphyxiation was used as a control. The immunohistochemical staining by dystrophin, C5b-9 and fibronectin antibodies was performed. Loss of sarcolemmal dystrophin was observed in different degrees according to more or less significant histological evidence of myocardial ischaemia. Moreover, the comparison between loss of dystrophin expression and fibronectin positivity showed significant differences in group 2. The results suggested that dystrophin can be used in forensic diagnosis of CAD-related sudden cardiac death and as marker of early myocardial ischaemia.


Dystrophin Myocardial ischaemia Sudden cardiac death Coronary atherosclerotic disease Immunohistochemistry 



The authors thank the technical support of Prof. Antonio Micali of the Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging of University of Messina.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

414_2018_1843_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (630 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 629 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Mondello
    • 1
  • Luigi Cardia
    • 2
  • Giovanni Bartoloni
    • 3
  • Alessio Asmundo
    • 1
  • Elvira Ventura Spagnolo
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional ImagingUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human Pathology of Adult and Childhood “Gaetano Barresi”University of MessinaGazziItaly
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy, Diagnostic Pathology, Legal Medicine Hygiene and Public HealthUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  4. 4.Legal Medicine Section, Department for Health Promotion and Mother-Child CareUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly

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