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Long-Term Hematopoietic Stem Cell Damage in a Murine Model of the Hematopoietic Syndrome of the Acute Radiation Syndrome

Chua, Hui Lin*; Plett, P. Artur*; Sampson, Carol H.*; Joshi, Mandar*; Tabbey, Rebeka*; Katz, Barry P.*; MacVittie, Thomas J.; Orschell, Christie M.*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3182666d6f

Residual bone marrow damage (RBMD) persists for years following exposure to radiation and is believed to be due to decreased self-renewal potential of radiation-damaged hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Current literature has examined primarily sublethal doses of radiation and time points within a few months of exposure. In this study, the authors examined RBMD in mice surviving lethal doses of total body ionizing irradiation (TBI) in a murine model of the Hematopoietic Syndrome of the Acute Radiation Syndrome (H-ARS). Survivors were analyzed at various time points up to 19 mo post-TBI for hematopoietic function. The competitive bone marrow (BM) repopulating potential of 150 purified c-Kit+ Sca-1+ lineage- CD150+ cells (KSLCD150+) remained severely deficient throughout the study compared to KSLCD150+ cells from non-TBI age-matched controls. The minimal engraftment from these TBI HSCs is predominantly myeloid, with minimal production of lymphocytes both in vitro and in vivo. All classes of blood cells as well as BM cellularity were significantly decreased in TBI mice, especially at later time points as mice aged. Primitive BM hematopoietic cells (KSLCD150+) displayed significantly increased cell cycling in TBI mice at all time points, which may be a physiological attempt to maintain HSC numbers in the post-irradiation state. Taken together, these data suggest that the increased cycling among primitive hematopoietic cells in survivors of lethal radiation may contribute to long-term HSC exhaustion and subsequent RBMD, exacerbated by the added insult of aging at later time points.

*Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202; †University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Christie M. Orschell, 980 W. Walnut Street, R3-C341, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 25 June 2012)

© 2012 by the Health Physics Society