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Transfusion. 1981 Jul-Aug;21(4):419-26.

The effects of irradiation on blood components.


The functional properties of formed elements of whole blood were studied following irradiation doses of 500 to 20,000 rads. Irradiated lymphocytes retained only 1.5 per cent of their 3H thymidine uptake after a 5,000-rad exposure and none after 7,500 rads. Red blood cells stored for 21 days and then irradiated with 5,000 rads had the same survival as nonirradiated controls. In contrast, 5,000 rads reduced platelet yields. However, transfused irradiated platelets produced the expected increases in platelet counts and controlled hemostasis in thrombocytopenic patients. After 5,000 rads, granulocytes had normal bacterial killing capacity, chemotactic mobility, and normal superoxide production after high-dose stimulation. Nitroblue tetrazolium reduction and ingestion stimulated by complement opsonized oil droplets were not diminished by 5,000- and 10,000-rad irradiation. The functional qualities of cellular blood components other than lymphocytes are not compromised by 5,000 rads. This irradiation dose may be an effective means of controlling incidence of graft-vs-host disease in immunosuppressed patients.

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