Effect of sample type on plasma concentrations of cell-free DNA and nucleosomes in dogs

01 Oct 2019

Goggs, R.

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Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and nucleosomes are two biomarkers of cell death and neutrophil extracellular trap formation that are increased in dogs with sepsis, immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia, cancer and following trauma and have diagnostic and prognostic values. cfDNA and nucleosomes are typically measured in plasma samples using DNA-specific fluorophores and ELISA assays, respectively, but their concentrations may be affected by pre-analytical variables such as sample type. The present study aimed to investigate the influence of sample type on the plasma cfDNA and nucleosome concentrations of a heterogeneous group of dogs presenting to an emergency room. Triplicate samples were collected into K2-ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, 3.2% citrate and a specialised DNA stabilisation tube (Streck BCT), processed rapidly and frozen for batch analysis. Biomarker concentrations were compared between sample types by calculation of Spearman’s correlation coefficients, and with Deming regression, Bland-Altman plots and the Friedman test. Overall, biomarker concentrations were highly correlated between the three sample types. The most concordant results were obtained using citrate samples and the DNA stabilisation tube. Matched cfDNA concentrations between the different sample types were significantly different but there was no significant difference between the nucleosome concentrations in any of the sample types. The present study suggests that cfDNA and nucleosomes can be successfully measured in various sample types, but distinct sample types do not produce interchangeable results. This argues for use of a consistent sample type within studies and suggests standardisation may be useful for the field.