Myocardial infarction (MI) is one of the most prevalent causes of sudden adult death. It is difficult to diagnose early MI postmortem because there are no typical or characteristic changes in morphology. In this study, changes in the level of the mRNA for the urotensin receptor (UR) were investigated postmortem to determine the suitability of UR as a biomarker for diagnosis of early MI after death.
An MI rat model was developed by injecting rats with isoproterenol (ISO) (lethal dose 850 mg/kg) or normal saline (control group). The hearts of rats in the control and ISO-induced MI groups were harvested at 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h (h) postmortem. The hearts were then immediately submerged in 1 mL of RNA stabilization solution and stored at 4 °C for <1 week before RNA extraction. Relative UR expression analysis was performed using the StepOne Plus Real Time PCR System with cDNA synthesized from rat heart.
Postmortem UR mRNA expression was higher in the ISO-induced MI group than in the control group, at both 4 and 20 °C, at all of the time points examined except 72 h postmortem (p < 0.0001). The largest increases were observed at ambient temperature and 6 h postmortem.
Based on our findings, increased postmortem UR expression could serve as a biomarker to aid diagnosis of early MI.