Increasing evidence especially stemming from peripheral blood progenitor transplantation studies points to a possible biologic difference between mobilized blood and bone marrow progenitor cells. The objective of this study was to compare the in situ radiation sensitivity of recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rhG-CSF)-recruited circulating granulopoietic (blood colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage [CFU-GM(blood)]) and megakaryocytopoietic (blood CFU-megakaryocyte [CFU-Meg(blood)]) progenitors, with the nonmobilized fraction remaining in the bone marrow (CFU-GM(femur) and CFU-Meg(femur)). Splenectomized male B6D2F1 mice received 50 micrograms/kg/d rhG-CSF daily for 8 days to induce high levels of circulating progenitors, followed by either total body X-irradiation (TBI) or X-irradiation of the chest (CI) with 62.5, 125, 250, or 500 cGy. Progenitor cells were assayed 24 hours after irradiation. Circulating CFU-GM and CFU-Meg in the blood were decreased in a dose- dependent fashion by both TBI and CI, with TBI causing greater damage than CI. Average D0 values for TBI were 53 cGy for CFU-GM(blood) and 40 cGy for CFU-Meg(blood) D0 values for CI were 90 cGy for CFU-GM(blood) and 140 cGy for CFU-Meg(blood). As seen for blood progenitor cells, TBI caused a dose-dependent decrease of both CFU-GM(femur) (D0, 136 cGy) and CFU-Meg(femur) (D0, 148 cGy). However, radiation-induced bone marrow progenitor cell kill was significantly lower when compared with blood progenitors. Despite the fact that circulating blood elements only received a fraction of the total dose administered as Cl, the extent of blood progenitor kill caused by Cl was higher than the effects of identical TBI doses on bone marrow CFU. The results of this study showed that rhG-CSF-recruited CFU-Meg(blood) and CFU-GM(blood) were considerably more radiosensitive than femoral progenitors, thereby providing novel evidence for a biologic difference between rhG-CSF- recruited peripheral blood progenitors and the nonrecruited bone marrow CFU.

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