Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Forensic Leg Med. 2014 Mar;23:12-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2014.01.009. Epub 2014 Jan 25.

Measurement of β-tryptase in postmortem serum in cardiac deaths.

Author information

University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:
University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Diagnostic Services, Pathology and Legal Medicine, Section of Pathology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


Mast cells are well known for their role in hypersensitivity reactions. However, there is increasing evidence that they might also participate in both developing and weakening atherosclerotic plaques, potentially causing plaque instability. Some clinical studies have therefore postulated the existence of relationships between blood β-tryptase levels and acute coronary syndromes. In this study, we investigated postmortem serum β-tryptase levels in a series of 90 autopsy cases with various degrees of coronary atherosclerosis that had undergone medico-legal investigations. β-tryptase concentrations in these cases were compared to levels observed in 6 fatal anaphylaxis cases following contrast material administration. Postmortem serum β-tryptase concentrations in the anaphylactic deaths ranged from 146 to 979 ng/ml. In 9 out of 90 cases of cardiac deaths, β-tryptase levels were higher than clinical reference values of 11.4 ng/ml and ranged from 21 to 65 ng/ml. These results indicate that increased postmortem serum β-tryptase levels can be observed, though not systematically, in cardiac deaths with varying degrees of coronary atherosclerosis disease, thereby suggesting that mast cell activation in this disease cannot be ascertained by postmortem serum β-tryptase measurements.


Acute coronary syndromes; Coronary thrombosis; Mast cell; Myocardial infarction; Sudden death; Tryptase

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center