Quantification of circulating cell-free plasma DNA and endothelial gene RNA in patients with burns and relation to acute thermal injury.
Fox A., Gal S., Fisher N., Smythe J., Wainscoat J., Tyler MP., Watt SM., Harris AL.
BACKGROUND: Major burn represents a multi-system insult to the human body. Despite improvements in mortality and morbidity, reliable predictors of outcome are lacking. Raised levels of cell-free nucleic acids have been detected in various pathological processes including burns. We quantified circulating nucleic acids as potential objective measures of burn severity with predictive and prognostic value. METHODS: Expression of endothelial specific cell-free mRNA and cell-free DNA were measured in plasma of 19 burn patients at days 1-3 and week 10 following acute thermal injury and in 19 healthy controls by real-time quantitative PCR. RESULTS: Expression of endothelial specific mRNA was higher in burn patients compared to controls (p<0.001). DNA levels were significantly higher in the burn population in the first 48 h following injury. Plasma RNA and DNA levels related to %TBSA burn in the first 24h and to the levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells. CONCLUSIONS: We show that plasma levels of endothelial specific mRNA and DNA are elevated acutely following burns, and relate to severity in terms of %TBSA burnt.