Postmortem changes in the immunohistochemical demonstration of nerves in human ventricular myocardium

Louis Tsun Cheung Chow, Wing Hing Chow, Joseph C. K. Lee, Sharron Sau Ming Chow, Robert H. Anderson, John A. Gosling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In order to delineate the effects of death on the immunofluorescence of autonomic nerves supplying the human ventricular myocardium, we studied percutaneous myocardial samples obtained postmortem from 5 individuals within 3 h of death. Subsequent samples were obtained daily from the same individuals up to a total of 5-11 d. The antibodies employed included those against protein gene product 9.5 to demonstrate nervous tissue, dopamine β-hydroxylase and tyrosine hydroxylase to reveal catecholaminergic neural tissue and neuropeptide Y. An indirect immunofluorescence technique using the avidin-biotin method was employed. The density of myocardial protein gene product 9.5 immunoreactive nerves declined on the 7th day, and became markedly diminished by the 11th day. Immunoreactive dopamine β-hydroxylase nerves decreased on the 5th day, and were difficult to identify by the 9th day. The density of tyrosine hydroxylase and neuropeptide Y containing nerves rapidly diminished on the 3rd and 4th days, and became undetectable by the 7th and 8th days, respectively. The present results indicate that, depending on the type of antibodies used, immunohistochemical techniques can be used on human hearts obtained up to within 6 d of death to study cardiac innervation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • heart
  • cardiac innervation
  • neuropeptides


Dive into the research topics of 'Postmortem changes in the immunohistochemical demonstration of nerves in human ventricular myocardium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this