A variety of alpha (α)-particle emitters are found ubiquitously in the environment, in commercial/therapeutic products and are a potential threat in the form of a radiological dispersal device. Our understanding of the biological mechanisms and long-term health effects resulting from α-particle exposure is limited. Exposure to radiation induces modulations of gene networks, possibly through microRNAs (miRNAs), which could be targets for studying biological effects. In this study, changes in miRNA expression patterns after 0.5 Gy, 1.0 Gy and 1.5 Gy of α-particle radiation at a low dose-rate of exposure in three human cell-lines (A549, THP-1 and HFL) were investigated. The screening of 1,145 miRNAs across three human cell-lines resulted in unique, cell-specific responses with no overlap in miRNA expression observed in the three cell-lines. Prediction analysis suggests these α-particle induced miRNA mapped to target genes related to ribosomal assembly, lung carcinoma development, cell communication and keratin sulfate biosynthesis. Taken together, these results suggest that exposure to α-particle radiation results in cell-type specific responses in gene network regulatory processes.

α-particles, Gene networks, MicroRNA expression
Open Biochemistry Journal
Department of Physics

Chauhan, V. (Vinita), Howland, M. (Matthew), & Wilkins, R.C. (2012). Effects of α-particle radiation on microRNA responses in human cell-lines. Open Biochemistry Journal, 6, 16–22. doi:10.2174/1874091X01206010016