Circulating Cardiac Troponin T Exhibits a Diurnal Rhythm

L.J.J. Klinkenberg, J.W. van Dijk, F.E.S. Tan, L.J.C. van Loon, M.P. van Dieijen-Visser, S.J.R. Meex*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives The goal of this study was to test the unverified assumption that chronically elevated cardiac troponin T (cTnT) levels fluctuate randomly around a homeostatic set point. Background The introduction of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (cTn) assays has improved sensitivity for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, many patients with a single positive cTn test result do not have AMI. Therefore, the diagnosis of AMI relies strongly on serial testing and interpretation of cTn kinetics. Essential in this regard is a profound understanding of the biological variation of cTn. Methods Two studies were conducted to assess biological cTnT variation and to investigate the presence of a diurnal rhythm of cTnT. Study 1 comprised 23 male subjects with type 2 diabetes, with no acute cardiovascular disease. Serial venous blood samples were drawn over an 11-h period (8:30 AM to 7:30 PM). In study 2, the presence of a diurnal cTnT rhythm was investigated by hourly sampling of 7 subjects from study 1 over 25 h. Results In study 1, we observed a gradual decrease in cTnT concentrations during the day (24 +/- 2%). This decrease was present in all participants and was most prominent in subjects with the highest baseline cTnT values (Pearson's R 0.93). Diurnal variation of cTnT, as assessed in study 2, was characterized by peak concentrations during morning hours (8:30 AM, 17.1 +/- 2.9 ng/l), gradually decreasing values during daytime (8:30 PM, 11.9 +/- 1.6 ng/l), and rising concentrations during nighttime (8:30 AM the next day, 16.9 +/- 2.8 ng/l). Conclusions A diurnal cTnT rhythm substantiates the recommendation that all dynamic changes in cTnT should be interpreted in relation to the clinical presentation. Epidemiological studies and risk-stratification protocols with the use of cTnT may benefit from standardized sampling times. (Exercise and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes; NCT00945165)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1788-1795
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Cite this