The dark side of circulating nucleic acids

Silvia Gravina, John M. Sedivy, Jan Vijg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Free circulating or cell-free DNA (cfDNA), possibly from dying cells that release their contents into the blood as they break down, have become of major interest as a source for noninvasive diagnostics. Recent work demonstrated the uptake of human cfDNA in mouse cells in vitro and in vivo, accompanied by the activation of a cellular DNA damage response (DDR) and the appearance of apoptotic proteins in the host cells. By acting as a source of mobile genetic elements, cfDNA could be a continuous source of DNA mutagenesis of healthy cells in the body throughout life, promoting progressive cellular aging in vivo. As such, cfDNA may causally contribute to multiple aging-related diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-399
Number of pages2
JournalAging cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Aging
  • Cell-free DNA
  • DNA damage
  • Mutagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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