Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 11, pp 2975–2982 | Cite as

Plasma mtDNA Analysis Aids in Predicting Pancreatic Necrosis in Acute Pancreatitis Patients: A Pilot Study

  • Lin Wu
  • Wujian Xu
  • Fangyu Wang
  • Tangfeng Lv
  • Zhiqiang YinEmail author
  • Yong SongEmail author
Original Article



Specific plasma biomarkers in predicting pancreatic necrosis (PNec) are needed in treating acute pancreatitis (AP).


To investigate the prognostic value of plasma mitochondrial DNA fragments (mtDNA) in patient with AP for PNec.


AP patients with symptoms onset within 72 h were prospectively enrolled from June 2015 through June 2017 and were assessed for PNec using contrast-enhanced CT scan. Plasma mtDNA concentration (specific mitochondrial gene ND1) was measured using qRT-PCR.


Of the 74 AP patients included, significant higher median level of plasma mtDNA was found in severe AP patients than in mild AP patients and healthy controls, but not in moderately severe AP patients. Patients with PNec had higher level of plasma mtDNA than those without PNec (774.2 [IQR 397.6–2205.0] vs. 169.5 [IQR 73.6–683.4] pg/ml, P < 0.05). The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (ROC-AUC) of mtDNA for predicting PNec was higher than that of CRP (0.813 [95% CI 0.705–0.895] vs. 0.678 [95% CI 0.558–0.783]). Using a cutoff value of 302.5 pg/ml, the sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing PNec were 90.9 and 68.3%, respectively. Finally, plasma mtDNA levels decreased significantly after continuous renal replacement therapy (717.7 [IQR 307.00–1370.00] vs. 237.5 [IQR 117.20–464.80] pg/ml, P < 0.01).


Elevated plasma mtDNA content in AP patients may be used as a more accurate early predictor of PNec in contrast to traditional CRP.


Mitochondrial DNA Acute pancreatitis Acute pancreatic necrosis C-reactive protein 



We thank Prof. Chaojun Wang, Dr. Yifei Han and Dr. Jinhai Zhang from Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command for technical support.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81200030), the Jiangsu Planned Projects for Postdoctoral Research Funds (1402002A), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016T1015).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastrointestinal DiseaseJinling HospitalNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Respiratory MedicineJinling HospitalNanjingChina
  3. 3.Chinese PLA 359 HospitalZhenjiangChina

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