Threats of nuclear terrorism coupled with potential unintentional ionizing radiation exposures have necessitated the need for large-scale response efforts of such events, including high-throughput biodosimetry for medical triage. Global metabolomics utilizing mass spectrometry (MS) platforms has proven an ideal tool for generating large compound databases with relative quantification and structural information in a short amount of time. Determining metabolite panels for biodosimetry requires experimentation to evaluate the many factors associated with compound concentrations in biofluids after radiation exposures, including temporal changes, pre-existing conditions, dietary intake, partial- vs. total-body irradiation (TBI), among others. Here, we utilize a nonhuman primate (NHP) model and identify metabolites perturbed in serum after 7.2 Gy TBI without supportive care [LD70/60, hematologic (hematopoietic) acute radiation syndrome (HARS) level H3] at 24, 36, 48 and 96 h compared to preirradiation samples with an ultra-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight (UPLC-QTOF) MS platform. Additionally, we document changes in cytokine levels. Temporal changes observed in serum carnitine, acylcarnitines, amino acids, lipids, deaminated purines and increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines indicate clear metabolic dysfunction after radiation exposure. Multivariate data analysis shows distinct separation from preirradiation groups and receiver operator characteristic curve analysis indicates high specificity and sensitivity based on area under the curve at all time points after 7.2 Gy irradiation. Finally, a comparison to a 6.5 Gy (LD50/60, HARS level H2) cohort after 24 h postirradiation revealed distinctly increased separations from the 7.2 Gy cohort based on multivariate data models and higher compound fold changes. These results highlight the utility of MS platforms to differentiate time and absorbed dose after a potential radiation exposure that may aid in assigning specific medical interventions and contribute as additional biodosimetry tools.
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Vol. 190 • No. 6