PMID: 4886041Mar 1, 1969

Biphasic pattern of thymus regeneration after whole-body irradiation

The Journal of Experimental Medicine
A TakadaJ L Ambrus


Whole-body irradiation of mice with 300 or 400 R causes a precipitous fall in thymus weight, followed by an increase in the mitotic index and an almost complete restoration of thymus mass. This phase is followed by a secondary fall in thymus weight and gradual recovery. This secondary fall can be prevented by intravenous injection of bone marrow or shielding of the hind limbs during irradiation. The hypothesis is proposed that the thymus depends on the migration of cells from the bone marrow to the thymus for the maintenance of its cell population. Bone marrow cells with chromosome markers injected intravenously into normal or lightly irradiated (150 R) animals do not populate the host bone marrow to any significant degree. After whole-body irradiation with heavy doses (400 R), donor cells dominate the marrow. There may be a competition between dividing cells in the bone marrow which regulates proliferation of hemic cells. Bone marrow cells with marker chromosomes do not repopulate the thymus in irradiated animals until long after repopulating the bone marrow. It is possible that these cells have to pass through the marrow or the blood-marrow barrier to acquire characteristics needed for entering the thymus. After whole-body ir...Continue Reading


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Chromosome Markers
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Intravenous Injections
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