Lipidomics in Radiation Research

Risks of radiation exposure range from nuclear energy accidents to potential terrorism and workplace industrial hazards. Biodosimetry methods are required to aid in the recovery from a potential mass exposure to radiation by determining absorbed dose, assigning triage, and determining useful countermeasures. Much effort has been put into utilizing metabolomics as a way to quantitatively measure markers from radiation exposure from easily accessible biofluids such as urine, serum, and saliva among others. Lipidomics can be considered a branch of metabolomics that aims to catalogue changes in lipid species during injury, disease states, exposure to xenobiotic compounds, or changes in nutritional status.

A well-established effect of radiation exposure is the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) capable of hydrogen abstraction from biomolecules, such as lipids and proteins, thus causing damage. In addition to radiation induced ROS, cellular responses to radiation are known to include proinflammatory-like signaling with ROS further generation. Due to the high reactivity of lipids to ROS damage, they may be useful in determining absorbed radiation dose for biodosimetry and determining delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (DEARE).


Patients exposed to ionizing radiation through cancer therapy showed significant changes in circulating free fatty acid levels, as well as various phosphatidylglycerols, phosphatidylcholines, monoacylglycerols, and triacylglycerols, only hours after exposure.

Patients exposed to ionizing radiation through cancer therapy showed significant changesFig1. Patients exposed to ionizing radiation through cancer therapy showed significant changes (Laiakis, Evagelia C.; et al, 2017)

With decades of operational experience and technology platform, Creative Proteomics provides reliable, rapid, and cost-effective untargeted lipidomics and targeted lipidomics services based on GC/LC-MS and shot-gun methods for environmental toxicology research (radiation).

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  1. Laiakis, Evagelia C.; et al. A serum small molecule biosignature of radiation exposure from total body irradiated patients. Journal of proteome research. 2017, 16.10 (2017): 3805-3815.
  2. Pannkuk, E.L.; et al. Lipidomic Signatures of Nonhuman Primates with Radiation-Induced Hematopoietic Syndrome. Sci Rep. 2017, 7, 9777.
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