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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Pathology

Fatal Outcome in Bacteremia is Characterized by High Plasma Cell Free DNA Concentration and Apoptotic DNA Fragmentation: A Prospective Cohort Study
Published: Friday, July 01, 2011
Author: Reetta Huttunen et al.

by Reetta Huttunen, Taru Kuparinen, Juulia Jylhävä, Janne Aittoniemi, Risto Vuento, Heini Huhtala, Janne Laine, Jaana Syrjänen, Mikko Hurme

Introduction

Recent studies have shown that apoptosis plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of sepsis. High plasma cell free DNA (cf-DNA) concentrations have been shown to be associated with sepsis outcome. The origin of cf-DNA is unclear.

Methods

Total plasma cf-DNA was quantified directly in plasma and the amplifiable cf-DNA assessed using quantitative PCR in 132 patients with bacteremia caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, ß-hemolytic streptococcae or Escherichia coli. The quality of cf-DNA was analyzed with a DNA Chip assay performed on 8 survivors and 8 nonsurvivors. Values were measured on days 1–4 after positive blood culture, on day 5–17 and on recovery.

Results

The maximum cf-DNA values on days 1–4 (n?=?132) were markedly higher in nonsurvivors compared to survivors (2.03 vs 1.26 ug/ml, p<0.001) and the AUCROC in the prediction of case fatality was 0.81 (95% CI 0.69–0.94). cf-DNA at a cut-off level of 1.52 ug/ml showed 83% sensitivity and 79% specificity for fatal disease. High cf-DNA (>1.52 ug/ml) remained an independent risk factor for case fatality in a logistic regression model. Qualitative analysis of cf-DNA showed that cf-DNA displayed a predominating low-molecular-weight cf-DNA band (150–200 bp) in nonsurvivors, corresponding to the size of the apoptotic nucleosomal DNA. cf-DNA concentration showed a significant positive correlation with visually graded apoptotic band intensity (R?=?0.822, p<0.001).

Conclusions

Plasma cf-DNA concentration proved to be a specific independent prognostic biomarker in bacteremia. cf-DNA displayed a predominating low-molecular-weight cf-DNA band in nonsurvivors corresponding to the size of apoptotic nucleosomal DNA.

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