Background: Nuclear accidents and terrorism presents a serious threat for mass casualty. While bone-marrow transplantation might mitigate hematopoietic syndrome, currently there are no approved medical countermeasures to alleviate radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome (RIGS), resulting from direct cytocidal effects on intestinal stem cells (ISC) and crypt stromal cells. We examined whether bone marrow-derived adherent stromal cell transplantation (BMSCT) could restitute irradiated intestinal stem cells niche and mitigate radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. Methodology/Principal Findings: Autologous bone marrow was cultured in mesenchymal basal medium and adherent cells were harvested for transplantation to C57Bl6 mice, 24 and 72 hours after lethal whole body irradiation (10.4 Gy) or abdominal irradiation (16-20 Gy) in a single fraction. Mesenchymal, endothelial and myeloid population were characterized by flow cytometry. Intestinal crypt regeneration and absorptive function was assessed by histopathology and xylose absorption assay, respectively. In contrast to 100% mortality in irradiated controls, BMSCT mitigated RIGS and rescued mice from radiation lethality after 18 Gy of abdominal irradiation or 10.4 Gy whole body irradiation with 100% survival (p<0.0007 and p<0.0009 respectively) beyond 25 days. Transplantation of enriched myeloid and non-myeloid fractions failed to improve survival. BMASCT induced ISC regeneration, restitution of the ISC niche and xylose absorption. Serum levels of intestinal radioprotective factors, such as, R-Spondin1, KGF, PDGF and FGF2, and anti-inflammatory cytokines were elevated, while inflammatory cytokines were down regulated. Conclusion/Significance: Mitigation of lethal intestinal injury, following high doses of irradiation, can be achieved by intravenous transplantation of marrow-derived stromal cells, including mesenchymal, endothelial and macrophage cell population. BMASCT increases blood levels of intestinal growth factors and induces regeneration of the irradiated host ISC niche, thus providing a platform to discover potential radiation mitigators and protectors for acute radiation syndromes and chemo-radiation therapy of abdominal malignancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)