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Shock. 2012 Nov;38(5):532-42. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e31826c5b19.

Radiation combined with thermal injury induces immature myeloid cells.

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Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA.


The continued development of nuclear weapons and the potential for thermonuclear injury necessitates the further understanding of the immune consequences after radiation combined with injury (RCI). We hypothesized that sublethal ionization radiation exposure combined with a full-thickness thermal injury would result in the production of immature myeloid cells. Mice underwent either a full-thickness contact burn of 20% total body surface area or sham procedure followed by a single whole-body dose of 5-Gy radiation. Serum, spleen, and peripheral lymph nodes were harvested at 3 and 14 days after injury. Flow cytometry was performed to identify and characterize adaptive and innate cell compartments. Elevated proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory serum cytokines and profound leukopenia were observed after RCI. A population of cells with dual expression of the cell surface markers Gr-1 and CD11b were identified in all experimental groups, but were significantly elevated after burn alone and RCI at 14 days after injury. In contrast to the T-cell-suppressive nature of myeloid-derived suppressor cells found after trauma and sepsis, myeloid cells after RCI augmented T-cell proliferation and were associated with a weak but significant increase in interferon γ and a decrease in interleukin 10. This is consistent with previous work in burn injury indicating that a myeloid-derived suppressor cell-like population increases innate immunity. Radiation combined injury results in the increase in distinct populations of Gr-1CD11b cells within the secondary lymphoid organs, and we propose these immature inflammatory myeloid cells provide innate immunity to the severely injured and immunocompromised host.

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