Hitherto triglycerides (TG) and TG-rich lipoproteins were been of limited value as surrogates for antemortem levels. We measured TG levels in postmortem plasma from sudden coronary death cases (SCD, n=91) by using two TG assays, Dry Chem TG (free glycerol was added) and the Determiner L-TG (without added free glycerol) that measured net TG. TG levels were markedly higher by the Dry Chem TG (y) vs. Determiner L-TG (x), y=1.03x+229 mg/dl. HPLC showed large amounts of free glycerol in postmortem plasma and in TG-rich lipoprotein remnants (RLP). These results were verified in a rabbit model of SCD. Further, RLP from SCD were found to be biophysically similar to those from living patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). In conclusion, postmortem plasma sampled up to 12 h after death is appropriate for measuring lipid and lipoproteins, TG and RLP-TG as surrogates for antemortem levels when a TG assay without added free glycerol is used.
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