Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Thromb Haemost. 2015 Jun;13 Suppl 1:S82-91. doi: 10.1111/jth.12977.

Extracellular DNA and histones: double-edged swords in immunothrombosis.

Author information

Department of Medical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute (TaARI), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


The existence of extracellular DNA in human plasma, also known as cell-free DNA (cfDNA), was first described in the 1940s. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the functional significance of cfDNA, particularly in the context of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). cfDNA and histones are key components of NETs that aid in the host response to infection and inflammation. However, cfDNA and histones may also exert harmful effects by triggering coagulation, inflammation, and cell death and by impairing fibrinolysis. In this article, we will review the pathologic nature of cfDNA and histones in macrovascular and microvascular thrombosis, including venous thromboembolism, cancer, sepsis, and trauma. We will also discuss the prognostic value of cfDNA and histones in these disease states. Understanding the molecular and cellular pathways regulated by cfDNA and histones may provide novel insights to prevent pathological thrombus formation and vascular occlusion.


DNA; histones; sepsis; thrombosis; trauma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center