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Identifying Candidate Biomarkers of Ionizing Radiation in Human Pulmonary Microvascular Lumens Using Microfluidics—A Pilot ...

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The microvasculature system is critical for the delivery and removal of key nutrients and waste products and is significantly damaged by ionizing radiation. Single-cell capillaries and microvasculature structures are the primary cause of circulatory dysfunction, one that results in morbidities leading to progressive tissue and organ failure and premature death. Identifying tissue-specific biomarkers that are predictive of the extent of tissue and organ damage will aid in developing medical countermeasures for treating individuals exposed to ionizing radiation. In this pilot study, we developed and tested a 17 µL human-derived microvascular microfluidic lumen for identifying candidate biomarkers of ionizing radiation exposure. Through mass-spectrometry-based proteomics, we detected 35 proteins that may be candidate early biomarkers of ionizing radiation exposure. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of using humanized microfluidic and organ-on-a-chip systems for biomarker discovery studies. A more elaborate study of sufficient statistical power is needed to identify candidate biomarkers and test medical countermeasures of ionizing radiation.