We have reported that circulating IL-18 can be used as a radiation biomarker in mice, minipigs and nonhuman primates (NHPs, Macaca mulatta). Here, we report the levels of IL-18 in individual NHP's urine before and at 6 h–7 days after 5.0, 6.5 and 8.5 Gy 60Co total-body irradiation (TBI) using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Six animals (3.5–5.5 kg, 3–4 years old) per radiation dose were investigated. Correlation values between urine IL-18 and blood cell counts and serum chemistry parameters including lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), lipase, and serum total protein (TP), as well as between urine IL-18 and 60-day survival, were analyzed. Our data, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time, demonstrate that concentrations of urine IL-18 from irradiated NHPs were increased in a radiation dose-dependent manner compared to pre-TBI levels in samples from these animal (N = 18, 11.02 ± 1.3 pg/ml). A 5.0 Gy low dose of radiation (∼LD10/60) did not increase urine IL-18 levels. In contrast, high-dose TBI significantly increased urine IL-18 at day 1 to day 5 in a bell-shaped time course, reaching a peak of 5- to 10-fold of control levels on day 3 after 6.5 Gy (∼LD50/60) and 8.5 Gy (∼LD90/60), respectively. Statistical analysis using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) and MultiROC analysis indicated that white blood cell and platelet counts, serum LDH, lipase and TP, when combined with urine IL-18, provide discriminatory predictors of total-body radiation injury with a very high ROC area of 0.98. Urine IL-18 measurement, as an early prognostic indicator of survival, may facilitate rapid detection of lethal doses of radiation, based on the currently available data set.

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