Candidate protein biodosimeters of human exposure to ionizing radiation

Francesco Marchetti, Matthew A Coleman, Irene M. Jones, Andrew J. Wyrobek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Purpose: To conduct a literature review of candidate protein biomarkers for individual radiation biodosimetry of exposure to ionizing radiation. Materials and methods: Reviewed ∼300 publications (1973 - April 2006) that reported protein effects in mammalian systems after either in vivo or in vitro radiation exposure. Results: We found 261 radiation-responsive proteins including 173 human proteins. Most of the studies used high doses of ionizing radiation (>4 Gy) and had no information on dose- or time-responses. The majority of the proteins showed increased amounts or changes in phosphorylation states within 24 h after exposure (range: 1.5- to 10-fold). Of the 47 proteins that are responsive at doses of 1 Gy and below, 6 showed phosphorylation changes at doses below 10 cGy. Proteins were assigned to 9 groups based on consistency of response across species, dose- and time-response information and known role in the radiation damage response. Conclusions: ATM (Ataxia telengiectasia mutated), H2AX (histone 2AX), CDKN1A (Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A), and TP53 (tumor protein 53) are top candidate radiation protein biomarkers. Furthermore, we recommend a panel of protein biomarkers, each with different dose and time optima, to improve individual radiation biodosimetry for discriminating between low-, moderate-, and high-dose exposures. Our findings have applications for early triage and follow-up medical assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-639
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood
  • Fibroblasts
  • Radiation response
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiation


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