International Journal of Terahertz Science and Technology
  TST >> Vol.11, No.1, March 2018: PP. 28-33

(Invited Paper)Global gene expression in human skin tissue induced by intense terahertz pulses

Cameron M. Hough 1, 2*, David N. Purschke 2, Chenxi Huang 2, Lyubov V. Titova 3, Olga Kovalchuk 4, Brad J. Warkentin 1, and Frank A. Hegmann 2
1 Medical Physics Division, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1Z2, Canada
2 Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
3 Department of Physics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA 01609, USA
4 Department of Biology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4, Canada
* E-mail:

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Abstract: Terahertz (THz) radiation has been gaining increasing interest for medical applications due to the potential of pathological contrast for diagnostic applications. However, the interaction mechanism with biological systems implies that intense THz pulses can induce significant non-thermal biological effects, and these have been observed at the molecular, cellular, and tissue level of organization. To investigate the biological processes that are dysregulated by exposure to intense THz pulses, the global differential gene expression profile in skin tissue models was measured. Furthermore, gene ontology analysis identified biological processes that are significantly over-represented by the set of THz-affected genes. In total, 1,681 genes were found to be differentially expressed by exposure to intense THz pulses, and the down-regulated genes were significantly associated with several biological processes related to epidermal differentiation, suggesting the potential for THz exposure to dysregulate/inhibit differentiation or skin function in exposed tissue. The intensities required for the onset of potentially dysregulatory effects are much higher than intensities currently utilized in technologies for diagnostic medical applications.

Keywords: Terahertz, Gene expression, Bioinformatics.

Received: 2018-3-10

Published: 2018-3-30

Acknowledgments: We acknowledge support from NSERC, CFI, and the AITF Strategic Chairs Program, and technical assistance from Beipei Shi, Greg Popowich, Matt Reid, Rocio Rodriguez-Juarez, Rommy Rodriguez-Juarez, Andrey Golubov, and Yaroslav Ilnytskyy.

Cite this article:
Cameron M. Hough, David N. Purschke, Chenxi Huang, Lyubov V. Titova, Olga Kovalchuk, Brad J. Warkentin, and Frank A. Hegmann. (Invited Paper)Global gene expression in human skin tissue induced by intense terahertz pulses[J]. International Journal of Terahertz Science and Technology, 2018, Vol.11, No.1: 28-33.  DOI:10.11906/TST.028-033.2018.03.03




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