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03.03.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 12/2019 Open Access

Clinical Oral Investigations 12/2019

Characterization of circulating DNA in plasma of patients after allogeneic bone grafting

Clinical Oral Investigations > Ausgabe 12/2019
Önder Solakoglu, Bettina Steinbach, Werner Götz, Guido Heydecke, Klaus Pantel, Heidi Schwarzenbach
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00784-019-02867-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Klaus Pantel and Heidi Schwarzenbach should be considered joint senior author.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) harboring mutations has been found in patients with diseases. Experimental studies have shown that cfDNA can be transmitted, leading to transformations in the host. In the present study, we evaluated whether bone allograft material contains cfDNA and whether this foreign cfDNA can be released into the patient’s blood circulation.

Materials and methods

Plasma samples were collected preoperatively and postoperatively on the same day, at 5 weeks, and 4 months from 25 women who received bone allograft material (test group) from male donors and from 10 women who were treated with autologous graft (control group, only pre- and postoperative samples were collected). DNA was quantified and characterized in bone material and plasma samples by quantitative PCR with primers specific for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and Y chromosome and gel electrophoresis. DNA in bone material was digested by different concentrations of DNase I.


We detected between 1 and 1.8 μg cfDNA fragments at a length around 601 base pairs (bp) and smaller in each 100 mg allograft. Treatment of the allograft with DNase I completely degraded the longer but not the shorter DNA 90-bp fragments. Y-DNA was not detected in the patients’ bloodstream at any time during the treatment and follow-up, but elevated levels of circulating cfDNA could be measured immediately postoperatively.


Our results suggest that a transmission of DNA from allografts used for alveolar ridge reconstruction in humans is unlikely. The observed increase in circulating cfDNA in allograft and autograft patients immediately postoperatively may be elicited by the surgical procedure.

Clinical relevance

The results support the safety of allograft materials. The results suggest that human allograft materials seem not to release DNA into the blood since we did not measure Y-DNA with our technique.

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