The efficacy and outcome of bone marrow transplantation therapy following lethal irradiation were examined in syngeneic mice that had a hereditary macrocytic anemia (an/an) or were genotypically normal (+/+). Successful RBC and WBC replacement, based on blood cell parameters and donor genetic markers, were observed in all combinations of transplant therapy. Nevertheless, the an/an mice died prematurely several months after treatment, whether they received +/+ or an/an marrow cells. In contrast, the +/+ recipients of either +/+ or an/an marrow cells survived for at least 1 year after transplantation. Premature death of the an/an mice was associated with lymphopenia, anemia, kidney lesions, and severe pathogen-free pneumonitis. On the basis of our results, we hypothesize that the premature deaths of an/an mice are caused by a kind of chronic irradiation damage to which an/an mice are especially susceptible.