Cell‐Free DNA and DNase Activity in Dogs with Immune‐Mediated Hemolytic Anemia Conference Paper uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in dogs has a high risk of thrombosis and is associated with marked neutrophilia and necrosis. Cell death and release of neutrophil extracellular traps contribute to increased serum concentrations of cell-free DNA, and in human autoimmune disease reduced DNase activity further increases cell-free DNA. Free DNA in blood has prothrombotic properties and could contribute to hypercoagulability in IMHA. HYPOTHESIS: Cell-free DNA is elevated and DNase activity reduced in dogs with IMHA compared to healthy dogs. ANIMALS: Dogs presenting to two referral hospitals with IMHA (n = 28) and healthy controls (n = 20). METHODS: Prospective observational study. Blood was collected and death and thrombotic events occurring in the first 14 days after hospitalization recorded. DNA was extracted from plasma with a commercial kit and quantified by PicoGreen fluorescence. DNase activity of serum was measured by radial diffusion assay. RESULTS: Cell-free DNA was significantly higher in cases (median: 45 ng/mL, range: 10-2334 ng/mL) than controls (26 ng/mL, range 1-151 ng/mL, P = 0.0084). DNase activity was not different between cases and controls (P = 0.36). Four cases died and there were five suspected or confirmed thrombotic events. Cell-free DNA concentration was associated with death (odds ratio for upper quartile versus lower 3 quartiles: 15; 95% confidence interval 1.62-201; P = 0.03) but not thrombosis (P = 0.57). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Cell-free DNA is elevated in dogs with IMHA and likely reflects increased release rather than impaired degradation of DNA. Cell-free DNA concentration is potentially associated with death and might be a prognostic indicator, but this requires confirmation in a larger population.

altmetric score

  • 10

author list (cited authors)

  • Jeffery, U., Ruterbories, L., Hanel, R., & LeVine, D. N.

citation count

  • 13

publication date

  • September 2017