BMC genomics

High dose ionizing radiation regulates micro RNA and gene expression changes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

PMID 25257395


High dose ionizing radiation (IR) induces potent toxic cell effects mediated by either direct DNA damage or the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). IR-induced modulations in multiple biological processes have been proposed to be partly regulated by radiosensitive microRNA (miRNA). In order to gain new insights into the role of miRNAs in the regulation of biological processes after IR, we have investigated changes in mRNA and miRNA expression after high dose IR. IR induced changes in the mRNA and miRNA profiles of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). When comparing non-irradiated and irradiated samples, we detected a time-dependent increase in differentially expressed mRNAs and miRNAs, with the highest differences detectable 20xa0hours after exposure. Gene ontology analysis revealed that very early events (up to 4xa0hours) after irradiation were specifically associated with p53 signaling and apoptotic pathways, whereas a large number of diverse cellular processes were deregulated after 20xa0hours. Transcription factor analysis of all up-regulated genes confirmed the importance of p53 in the early post-irradiation phase. When analyzing miRNA expression, we found 177 miRNAs that were significantly regulated in the late post-irradiation phase. Integrating miRNA and target gene expression data, we found a significant negative correlation between miRNA-mRNA and identified hepatic leukemia factor (HLF) as a transcription factor down-regulated in the response to IR. These regulated miRNAs and the HLF target genes were involved in modulating radio-responsive pathways, such as apoptosis, the MAKP signaling pathway, endocytosis, and cytokine-cytokine interactions. Using a large dataset of mRNA and miRNA expression profiles, we describe the interplay of mRNAs and miRNAs in the regulation of gene expression in response to IR at a posttranscriptional level and their involvement in the modulation of radiation-induced biological pathways.