MicroRNAs as Novel Biomarkers of Deployment Status and Exposure to Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins/Dibenzofurans

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Objective:To determine if service members deployed to locations with open air burn pits have different serum microRNA (miRNA) profiles after deployment compared with length-of-service matched, non-deployed individuals. We also tested for correlations between miRNA and serum levels of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins/Dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDFs).Methods:MiRNAs were isolated and quantified by PCR array. Groups were analyzed for differences in miRNA expression. Correlations between serum miRNA and PCDD/PCDFs were assessed with a linear regression model.Results:Several miRNAs were differentially expressed after deployment and a partially overlapping set of miRNAs were identified between deployed and non-deployed individuals. Significant correlations between miRNAs and PCDD/PCDFs were identified.Conclusions:Serum miRNA levels show a link between deployment to locations with open burn pits and environmental exposures that can take place during deployment.

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