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Open Badges Commentary

The struggle to detect circulating DNA

Sacha Zeerleder

Author Affiliations

Sanquin Research at CLB, Department of Immunopathology, Plesmanlaan 125, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Critical Care 2006, 10:142  doi:10.1186/cc4932

See related research by Rhodes et al.

Published: 16 May 2006


In various diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune disease, sepsis or myocardial infarction, elevated levels of circulating DNA can be measured. However, its predictive value is under debate. Circulating DNA in plasma is protein-bound (nucleosomal) DNA. Quantification of circulating DNA can be performed by real-time quantitative PCR or immunological methods such as ELISA. The diagnostic value of both methods can be impaired by inappropriate handling of the samples. Assessment of circulating DNA in patients admitted to the intensive care unit offers a tool for predicting morbidity and mortality.