Interventional Cardiologists Can Face Risks To Brain From Unprotected Radiation Exposure Interview with:

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi

Dr. Andreassi

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD
Director, Genetics Research Unit
CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa- Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the health risks for contemporary interventional cardiologists who have a high and unprecedented levels of occupational ionizing radiation (IR) exposure. Because dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown in many human diseases, we investigated the differential expression of miRNAs in the plasma of interventional cardiologists professionally exposed to IR and unexposed controls.

In this study, our microarray analysis with 2,006 miRNAs and subsequent validation identified brain-specific miR-134 as one of the miRNAs that is highly dysregulated in the response to ionizing radiation exposure, supporting the notion that the brain damage is one of the main potential long-term risks of unprotected head irradiation in interventional cardiologists, with possible long-lasting cognitive consequences. Indeed, miR-134 was first identified as a brain-specific miRNA, which is involved in synapse development and directly implicated in learning and memory. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings are of particular interest in relation to the annual IR exposure to the cardiologist’s head, which is in the range of 20-30 mSv per year or much higher if a ceiling-suspended screen or other specific head protection devices such as radioprotective caps are not used. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results should be interpreted with caution, given the exploratory hypothesis-generating nature of this study. Further studies with the parallel evaluation of mRNA expression profiling and pre-clinical signs of cognitive impairment and neurodegeneration are needed to clarify the risk of low-dose radiation exposure for the brain, and the potential role of specific miRNA to provide a distinct molecular signature of radiation-induced brain effect. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We hope that our findings can encourage the diffusion of available dose reduction technologies as well as diligent radioprotection habits.
All authors have nothing to disclose. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Low-Dose Exposure to Ionizing Radiation Deregulates the Brain-Specific miR-134 in Interventional Cardiologists
Andrea Borghini, Cecilia Vecoli, Antonella Mercuri, Clara Carpeggiani, Emanuela Piccaluga, Giulio Guagliumi, Eugenio Picano, Maria Grazia Andreassi
Circulation. 2017;CIRCULATIONAHA.117.031251
Originally published October 16, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

[wysija_form id=”1″]

Last Updated on October 18, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD