We explored in dogs the immunosuppressive properties of 450 cGy total body irradiation (TBI) delivered from two opposing 60Co sources, as assessed by the criterion of successful engraftment of allogeneic genotypically DLA-identical littermate marrow. Two questions were asked in this study. Firstly, does dose rate affect the immunosuppressive effect of TBI when administered in a single dose? Secondly, does fractionation alter the immunosuppression of TBI when delivered at a very fast dose rate? Dose rates studied included 7 and 70 cGy/min, and fractionation involved four fractions of 112.5 cGy each, with 6-hour minimum interfraction intervals. Six of 7 dogs receiving 450 cGy single- dose TBI at 70 cGy/min showed sustained engraftment of the allogeneic marrow, compared with 1 of 7 dogs receiving single-dose TBI at 7 cGy/min (P = .01). Fractionated TBI at 70 cGy/min resulted in sustained allogeneic engraftment in 3 of 10 dogs, a result that was statistically significantly worse than that with single-dose TBI at 70 cGy/min (P = .03) and not statistically different (P = .24) from that with fractionated TBI delivered at 7 cGy/min (0 of 5 dogs engrafted). A single dose of 450 cGy of TBI delivered at a rate of 70 cGy/min is significantly more immunosuppressive than the same total dose delivered at 7 cGy/min. Fractionated TBI at 70 cGy/min is significantly less immunosuppressive than single-dose TBI at 70 cGy/min and not significantly different from fractionated TBI administered at 7 cGy/min. Results are consistent with the notion that significant DNA repair in lymphoid cells is possible during interfraction intervals at the relatively high dose rate of 70 cGy/min.

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