Myoglobin is an iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in both skeletal and myocardial muscles. It acts as a transport protein and is involved in diffusion of oxygen in the muscle tissue. Myoglobin is a single-chain globular protein of 154 amino acids. It is composed of a central iron-containing ‘Heme’ which is enclosed in a compact bundle-like or prism-like arrangement formed by the eight right-alpha-helices. Being a cytoplasmic protein having low molecular weight of 17,699 daltons, myoglobin is released into the serum more rapidly as compared to other cardiac markers upon damage to the myocardial cells.Serum concentration of myoglobin increases above the normal range as early as 1 hour after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), attains peak level in approximately 4 to 8 hours after the onset and normalize rapidly afterwards. Thus myoglobin is better suited as a cardiac biomarker marker for early diagnosis of AMI. However, the elevated myoglobin is not specific to AMI owing to its large quantities in skeletal muscles as well.
Despite its low clinical specificity and weak predictive value towards AMI, myoglobin is still a promising cardiac marker when other markers such as Creatine Kinase isoenzyme-MB (CK-MB) and Cardiac Troponin-I (cTn-I) as well as other indicators like clinical signs and ECG are taken into account for diagnosis/confirmation of AMI.