Characteristics of Fetal Extrachromosomal Circular DNA in Maternal Plasma: Methylation Status and Clearance.

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From: Clinical Chemistry(Vol. 67, Issue 5)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,374 words
Lexile Measure: 1430L

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Abstract :

BACKGROUND: Although the characterization of cell-free extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) has gained much research interest, the methylation status of these molecules is yet to be elucidated. We set out to compare the methylation densities of plasma eccDNA of maternal and fetal origins, and between small and large molecules. The clearance of fetal eccDNA from maternal circulation was also investigated. METHODS: We developed a sequencing protocol for eccDNA methylation analysis using tagmentation and enzymatic conversion approaches. A restriction enzyme-based approach was applied to verify the tagmentation results. The efficiency of cell-free fetal eccDNA clearance was investigated by fetal eccDNA fraction evaluations at various postpartum time points. RESULTS: The methylation densities of fetal eccDNA (median: 56.3%; range: 40.5-67.6%) were lower than the maternal eccDNA (median: 66.7%; range: 56.5-75.7%) (P = 0.02, paired t-test). In addition, eccDNA molecules from the smaller peak cluster (180-230 bp) were of lower methylation levels than those from the larger peak cluster (300-450 bp). Both of these findings were confirmed using the restriction enzyme approach. We also observed comparable methylation densities between linear and eccDNA of both maternal and fetal origins. The average half-lives of fetal linear and eccDNA in the maternal blood were 30.2 and 29.7 min, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We found that fetal eccDNA in plasma was relatively hypomethylated compared to the maternal eccDNA. The methylation densities of eccDNA were positively correlated with their sizes. In addition, fetal eccDNA was found to be rapidly cleared from the maternal blood after delivery, similar to fetal linear DNA.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A663469521