Mitochondrial effects in the liver of c57bl/6 mice by low dose, high energy, high charge irradiation

Brooke L. Barnette, Yongjia Yu, Robert Ullrich, Mark R. Emmett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Galactic cosmic rays are primarily composed of protons (85%), helium (14%), and high charge/high energy ions (HZEs) such as56Fe,28Si, and16O. HZE exposure is a major risk factor for astronauts during deep-space travel due to the possibility of HZE-induced cancer. A systems biology integrated omics approach encompassing transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and functional biochemical assays was used to identify microenvironmental changes induced by HZE exposure. C57BL/6 mice were placed into six treatment groups and received the following irradiation treatments: 600 Me V/n56Fe (0.2 Gy), 1 GeV/n16O (0.2 Gy), 350 MeV/n28Si (0.2 Gy),137Cs (1.0 Gy) gamma rays,137Cs (3.0 Gy) gamma rays, and sham irradiation. Left liver lobes were collected at 30, 60, 120, 270, and 360 days post-irradiation. Analysis of transcriptomic and proteomic data utilizing ingenuity pathway analysis identified multiple pathways involved in mitochondrial function that were altered after HZE irradiation. Lipids also exhibited changes that were linked to mitochondrial function. Molecular assays for mitochondrial Complex I activity showed significant decreases in activity after HZE exposure. HZE-induced mitochondrial dysfunction suggests an increased risk for deep space travel. Microenvironmental and pathway analysis as performed in this research identified possible targets for countermeasures to mitigate risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11806
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Integrated omics
  • Liver
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Space radiation
  • Systems biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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