Midkine (MK) is a heparin-binding growth factor, whose role as a biomarker of coronary artery disease, myocardial ischaemia and necrosis has not been well measured. This study quantified serial MK levels in patients undergoing coronary angiography (CA) and identified factors associated with MK. In this single-centre, parallel cohort study, forty patients undergoing CA had arterial samples collected prior, 10 and 20 min after heparin administration. Four groups were examined: 1-stable coronary artery disease (CAD) without percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); 2-stable CAD for elective PCI; 3-non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) with or without PCI; 4-ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with primary PCI. Groups 1, 2 and 4 were heparin naïve, allowing assessment of the effects of myocardial necrosis between baseline levels; group 3 had received low-molecular-weight heparin. MK levels were analysed by ELISA. Median MK at baseline did not differ between groups, demonstrating that myocardial ischaemia or necrosis does not affect MK levels. Heparin administration had an immediate effect on median MK at 10 min, showing an average 500-fold increase that is dose-dependent (R2 = 0.35, p = 0.001). Median MK levels remained elevated at 20 min following heparin administration.
Multivariate analysis showed that the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was the only predictor of elevated baseline MK (p = 0.02). Baseline MK did not correlate with high-sensitivity troponin-I (HsTnI) taken just before CA (p = 0.97), or peak HsTnI during admission (p = 0.74). MK is not a reliable marker of myocardial ischaemia or necrosis. MK increased significantly in all patients following heparin administration in a dose-dependent manner.