Biodosimetry on small blood volume using gene expression assay

Muriel Brengues, Brigitte Paap, Michael Bittner, Sally Amundson, Bruce Seligmann, Ronald Korn, Ralf Lenigk, Frederic Zenhausern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This paper reports the development of a biodosimetry device suitable for rapidly measuring expression levels of a low-density gene set that can define radiation exposure, dose and injury in a public health emergency. The platform comprises a set of 14 genes selected on the basis of their abundance and differential expression level in response to radiation from an expression profiling series measuring 41,000 transcripts. Gene expression is analyzed through direct signal amplification using a quantitative Nuclease Protection Assay (qNPA). This assay can be configured as either a high-throughput microplate assay or as a handheld detection device for individual point-of-care assays. Recently, we were able to successfully develop the qNPA platform to measure gene expression levels directly from human whole blood samples. The assay can be performed with volumes as small as 30 μL of whole blood, which is compatible with collection from a fingerstick. We analyzed in vitro irradiated blood samples with qNPA. The results revealed statistically significant discrimination between irradiated and non-irradiated samples. These results indicate that the qNPA platform combined with a gene profile based on a small number of genes is a valid test to measure biological radiation exposure. The scalability characteristics of the assay make it appropriate for population triage. This biodosimetry platform could also be used for personalized monitoring of radiotherapy treatments received by patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalHealth physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Accidents
  • Blood
  • Dosimetry
  • Handling
  • Radiological terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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