Absence of mutations in the human interferon alpha-2b gene in workers chronically exposed to ionising radiation

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Individuals chronically exposed to low-level ionising radiation (IR) run the risk of harmful and long-term adverse health effects, including gene mutations and cancer development. The search for reliable biomarkers of IR exposure in human population is still of great interest, as they may have a great implementation potential for the surveillance of occupationally exposed individuals. In this context, and considering previous literature, this study aimed to identify mutations in the human interferon alpha-2b (hIFNα-2b) as a potential biomarker of occupational chronic low-dose IR exposure linking low-IR exposure to the effects on haematopoiesis and reduced immunity. The analysis was performed in the genomic DNA of 51 uranium miners and 38 controls from Kazakhstan, and in 21 medical radiology workers and 21 controls from Italy. hIFNα-2b gene mutations were analysed with the real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Sanger sequencing. However, none of the investigated workers had the hIFNα-2b mutation. This finding highlights the need for further research to identify biomarkers for early detection of health effects associated with chronic low-dose IR exposure.

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