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Blood. 2002 Jun 1;99(11):4182-91.

Total body irradiation causes profound changes in endothelial traffic molecules for hematopoietic progenitor cell recruitment to bone marrow.

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Center for Blood Research, the Department of Pathology, and the Division of Clinical Genetics, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Nonirradiated bone marrow (BM) venules and sinusoids in murine skull support hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) rolling through constitutively expressed endothelial (P- and E-) selectins and VCAM-1. Using intravital microscopy, we tested whether host conditioning with total body irradiation (TBI) changes the molecular mechanisms by which murine HPCs from fetal livers (FL) interact with BM endothelial cells. Although a high dose of TBI did not affect the overall frequency of HPC rolling in BM microvessels, the underlying molecular mechanisms differed from those in nonirradiated BM. TBI induced VCAM-1 up-regulation in BM microvessels, whereas P-selectin expression was reduced and the low baseline level of E-selectin remained unchanged. Only the administration of anti-VCAM-1, but not anti-P- or -E-selectin monoclonal antibodies, decreased FL HPC rolling. Rolling was frequently followed by firm arrest (sticking), even in nonirradiated BM microvessels in which sticking was entirely pertussis toxin-insensitive-that is, Galpha(i)-coupled signaling events (eg, through chemokines) were apparently not required. TBI increased the frequency of sticking FL HPC. This irradiation-induced additional sticking was reversed when FL HPCs were pretreated with pertussis toxin, suggesting that TBI induced elevated expression of a Galpha(i)-protein-coupled chemotactic signal in the BM. This chemoattractant was probably distinct from SDF-1alpha because, unlike adult HPCs, FL HPCs (day 11 of gestation) responded poorly to SDF-1alpha in vitro. These results demonstrate that TBI induces profound changes in the expression of endothelial traffic molecules in the BM, and they indicate that FL HPCs can home to the BM in the absence of SDF-1alpha and other Galpha(i)-protein-coupled signals.

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