Plasma miRNA as biomarkers for assessment of total-body radiation exposure dosimetry

Wanchang Cui, Jinfang Ma, Yulei Wang, Shyam Biswal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The risk of radiation exposure, due to accidental or malicious release of ionizing radiation, is a major public health concern. Biomarkers that can rapidly identify severely-irradiated individuals requiring prompt medical treatment in mass-casualty incidents are urgently needed. Stable blood or plasma-based biomarkers are attractive because of the ease for sample collection. We tested the hypothesis that plasma miRNA expression profiles can accurately reflect prior radiation exposure. We demonstrated using a murine model that plasma miRNA expression signatures could distinguish mice that received total body irradiation doses of 0.5 Gy, 2 Gy, and 10 Gy (at 6 h or 24 h post radiation) with accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of above 90%. Taken together, these data demonstrate that plasma miRNA profiles can be highly predictive of different levels of radiation exposure. Thus, plasma-based biomarkers can be used to assess radiation exposure after mass-casualty incidents, and it may provide a valuable tool in developing and implementing effective countermeasures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22988
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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