Background: In recent studies, concentrations of cell-free circulating DNA (cf-DNA) have been correlated with clinical characteristics and prognosis in several diseases. The relationship between cf-DNA concentrations and the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) remains unknown. Moreover, no data are available for the detection cf-DNA in ACS by a branched DNA (bDNA)-based Alu assay. The aim of the present study was to investigate cf-DNA concentrations in ACS and their relationship with clinical features. Methods: Plasma cf-DNA concentrations of 137 ACS patients at diagnosis, of 60 healthy individuals and of 13 patients with stable angina (SA) were determined using a bDNA-based Alu assay. Results: ACS patients (median 2,285.0, interquartile range 916.4–4,857.3 ng/ml), especially in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients (median 5,745.4, interquartile range 4,013.5–8,643.9 ng/ml), showed a significant increase in plasma cf-DNA concentrations compared with controls (healthy controls: median 118.3, interquartile range 81.1–221.1 ng/ml; SA patients: median 202.3, interquartile range 112.7–256.1 ng/ml) using a bDNA-based Alu assay. Moreover, we found positive correlations between cf-DNA and Gensini scoring and GRACE (Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) scoring in ACS. Conclusion: cf-DNA may be a valuable marker for diagnosing and predicting the severity of coronary artery lesions and risk stratification in ACS.

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