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A serum small molecule biosignature of radiation exposure from total body irradiated patients



Evagelia C. Laiakis, Evan L. Pannkuk, Siddheshwar Chauthe, Yi-Wen Wang, Ming Liang, Tytus Mak, Christopher A. Barker, Giuseppe Astarita, Albert J. Fornace


The potential of radiological accidents and nuclear terrorism have increased the need for development of new rapid biodosimetry methods. In addition, in a clinical setting the issue of an individual's radiosensitivity should be taken into consideration during radiotherapy. We utilized metabolomics and lipidomics to investigate changes of metabolites in serum samples following exposure to total body ionizing radiation (TBI) in humans. Serum was collected prior to irradiation, at 3-8 h after a single dose of 1.25-2 Gy, and at 24 h with a total delivered dose of 2 to 3.75 Gy. Metabolomics revealed perturbations in glycerophosphocholine, phenylalanine, ubiquinone Q2, and oxalic acid. Alterations were observed in circulating levels of lipids from monoacylglycerol, triacylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine, and phosphatidylglycerol lipid classes. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) were some of the most dysregulated lipids with increased levels linked to pro-inflammatory processes. A targeted metabolomics approach for eicosanoids was also employed. Results showed a rapid response in pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, with dampening of the signal at the later time point. Sex differences were observed in the markers from the untargeted approach, but not the targeted method. The ability to identify and quantify small molecules in blood can therefore be utilized to monitor radiation exposures in human populations.
ACS Journal of Proteome Research


Metabolomics, Lipidomics, Serum, Ionizing radiation, Humans, Eicosanoids, Inflammation


Laiakis, E. , Pannkuk, E. , Chauthe, S. , Wang, Y. , Liang, M. , Mak, T. , Barker, C. , Astarita, G. and Fornace, A. (2017), A serum small molecule biosignature of radiation exposure from total body irradiated patients, ACS Journal of Proteome Research, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created August 21, 2017, Updated October 13, 2022