Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as key molecules in regulating many biological processes and have been implicated in development and disease pathogenesis. Biomarkers of cancer and normal tissue response to treatment are of great interest in precision medicine, as well as in public health and medical management, such as for assessment of radiation injury after an accidental or intentional exposure. Circulating and functional RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs) and lncRNAs, in whole blood and other body fluids are potential valuable candidates as biomarkers. Early prediction of possible acute, intermediate and delayed effects of radiation exposure enables timely therapeutic interventions. To address whether long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) could serve as biomarkers for radiation biodosimetry we performed whole genome transcriptome analysis in a mouse model after whole-body irradiation. Differential lncRNA expression patterns were evaluated at 16, 24 and 48 h postirradiation in total RNA isolated from whole blood of mice exposed to 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 Gy of X rays. Sham-irradiated animals served as controls. Significant alterations in the expression patterns of lncRNAs were observed after different radiation doses at the various time points. We identified several radiation-induced lncRNAs known for DNA damage response as well as immune response. Long noncoding RNA targets of tumor protein 53 (P53), Trp53cor1, Dino, Pvt1 and Tug1 and an upstream regulator of p53, Meg3, were altered in response to radiation. Gm14005 (Morrbid) and Tmevpg1 were regulated by radiation across all time points and doses. These two lncRNAs have important potential as blood-based radiation biomarkers; Gm14005 (Morrbid) has recently been shown to play a key role in inflammatory response, while Tmevpg1 has been implicated in the regulation of interferon gamma. Precise molecular biomarkers, likely involving a diverse group of inducible molecules, will not only enable the development and effective use of medical countermeasures but may also be used to detect and circumvent or mitigate normal tissue injury in cancer radiotherapy.
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Vol. 189 • No. 3