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Genomic characterization of a three-dimensional skin model following exposure to ionizing radiation.


This study aimed at characterizing the genomic response to low versus moderate doses of ionizing radiation (LDIR versus MDIR) in a three-dimensional (3D) skin model, which exhibits a closer tissue complexity to human skin than monolayer cell cultures. EpiDermFT skin plugs were exposed to 0, 0.1 and 1 Gy doses of X-rays and harvested at 5 min, 3, 8 and 24 h post-irradiation (post-IR). RNA was interrogated for global gene expression alteration. Our results show that MDIR modulated a larger number of genes over the course of 24 h compared to LDIR. However, immediately and throughout the first 3h post-IR, LDIR modulated a larger number of genes than MDIR, mostly associated with cell-cell signaling and survival promotion. Significant modulation of pathways was detected only at 3 h post-IR in MDIR with induction of genes promoting apoptosis. Collectively, the data show different dynamics in the response to LDIR versus MDIR, especially in cell-cycle distribution. LDIR-exposed tissues showed signs of attempted cell-cycle re-entry as early as 3 h post-IR, but were arrested beyond 8 h at the G1/S checkpoint. At 24 h, cells appeared to accumulate at the G2/M checkpoint. MDIR-exposed tissues did not exhibit a prolonged G1/S arrest but rather a prolonged G2/M arrest, which was sustained at least up to 24 h. By 24 h cells exhibited signs of recovery in both LDIR- and MDIR-exposed tissues. In summary, the most pronounced difference in the initial cellular response to LDIR versus MDIR is the promotion of protection and survival in LDIR versus the promotion of apoptosis in MDIR.

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