Send to

Choose Destination
Semin Radiat Oncol. 2009 Apr;19(2):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2008.11.006.

Bone marrow-derived stem cells and radiation response.

Author information

Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The recovery of tissues and organs from ionizing irradiation is critically dependent on the repopulation of resident stem cells, defined as the subset of cells with capacity for both self-renewal and differentiation. Stem cells of both hematopoietic and epithelial origin reside in defined areas of the cellular microenvironment (recently defined as the stem cell "niche"). Experiments using serial repopulation assays in serial generations of total body irradiated mice receiving transplanted marrow and in continuous bone marrow cultures both identified specific microanatomic sites that comprise the bone marrow stem cell niche. Supportive cells of the hematopoietic microenvironment not only contribute to stem cell repopulation capacity but also to the maintenance of their quiescent or nonproliferative state, which allows the most primitive hematopoietic stem cells to stay in a noncycling state protected from both direct ionizing radiation-induced cell-cycle phase-specific killing and indirect cytokine and free radical mediated killing. Recent evidence has defined both cell contact and humoral mechanisms of protection of hematopoietic stem cells by stromal cells. There is also recent evidence for multilineage differentiation capacity of cells of the hematopoietic microenvironment termed bone marrow stromal cells (mesenchymal stem cells). Both hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cell populations have been shown to be involved in the repair of ionizing irradiation damage of distant epithelial as well as other hematopoietic sites through their capacity to migrate through the circulation. The radiobiology of these 2 bone marrow stem cell populations is the subject of intense investigation. This review defines the status of research in the areas of stem cell quiescence, niche contact, and migratory responses to ionizing irradiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center