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Effects of whole-body gamma irradiation and 5-androstenediol administration on serum G-CSF.

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Radiation Casualty Management Team, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20889-5603, USA.


5-Androstenediol (5-AED) is a natural circulating adrenocortical steroid hormone that interconverts in vivo with other members of the 5-androstene family of steroids: dehydroepiandrosterone and 5-androstenetriol. These steroids stimulate immune responses and resistance to infection. 5-AED has been identified as a systemic radiation countermeasure that enhances survival in mice exposed to gamma irradiation and ameliorates radiation-induced neutropenia in mice and nonhuman primates. 5-AED mitigates radiation-induced decreases in platelets, natural killer (NK) cells, red blood cells, and monocytes. Administration of 5-AED causes functional activation of circulating granulocytes (phagocytic ability), monocytes (oxidative burst), and NK cells (surface CD11b expression). The effects of 5-AED on survival and hematological parameters are consistent with induction of hematopoietic cytokines. To test this hypothesis, we measured serum cytokines by ELISA, Luminex, and a cytokine array. A cytokine array was used for 62 different cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and soluble receptors. 5-AED caused significant increases in circulating granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in irradiated and unirradiated animals as observed with ELISA and Luminex. The cytokine array results suggest induction of G-CSF and additional cytokines, and related molecules. Since G-CSF is an important hematopoietic cytokine, the results support our hypothesis that the previously observed increases in numbers of hematopoietic progenitors, circulating innate immune cells and platelets, and functional activation of granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells result from a cytokine cascade induced by 5-AED.

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