About the possible origin and mechanism of circulating DNA apoptosis and active DNA release

Clin Chim Acta. 2001 Nov;313(1-2):139-42. doi: 10.1016/s0009-8981(01)00665-9.


Background: In addition to cell lysis, apoptosis has been advanced as the origin of circulating DNA on the basis of several observations. Plasma or serum DNA often presents a ladder pattern reminiscent of that displayed by apoptotic cells when subjected to electrophoresis. However, the phenomenon of active release of DNA from cells might also be expected to result in a ladder pattern on electrophoresis. Non-dividing cells, such as lymphocytes, frog auricles and cultured cell lines including HL-60, spontaneously release a nucleoprotein complex within a homeostatic system in which newly synthesized DNA is preferentially released.

Conclusion: In relation to DNA synthesis, the phenomenon of extracellular DNA in different culture conditions favors apoptosis or spontaneous active DNA release.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • DNA / blood*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans


  • DNA