Effects of amifostine on clonogenic mesenchymal progenitors and hematopoietic progenitors exposed to radiation

Jagadeesh Ramdas, Rajashekharan P. Warrier, Charles Scher, Vincent Larussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the radiation sensitivities of mesenchymal progenitors and hematopoietic progenitors, and to determine the in vitro effects of amifostine on hematopoietic and mesenchymal progenitors exposed to radiation. Methods: Radiosensitivity of mesenchymal progenitor cells was determined by exposing marrow low-density cells to radiation at doses of 100 to 800 cGy. Mesenchymal cell colonies were established by plating 2.5 x 105 marrow low-density cells in long-term marrow culture medium (LTCM). The size, frequency, and cellular composition of the mesenchymal progenitor cells were scored after 14 days of incubation. Mesenchymal progenitor cells were subdivided into progenitors forming fibroblast and adipocyte mixed colonies (CFU-FA), and pure fibroblast colonies (CFU-F). Hematopoietic progenitors were assessed by methylcellulose-based assay. Results: Radiation at 100 cGy caused a mild decrease in CFU-F and CFU-FA derived colonies by 12% and 13%, respectively; 200 cGy decreased CFU-F by 36% and CFU-FA by 52%; 400 cGy decreased CFU-F by 50% and CFU-FA by 86%; and 600 cGy decreased CFU-F by 24%, with total absence of CFU-FA. Pre-treatment with amifostine protected 100% of CFU-F at 100 and 200 cGy, 84% at 400 cGy, 46% at 600 cGy, and 14% at 800 cGy. With CFU-FA colonies amifostine pretreatment provided only minimal radioprotection. For hematopoietic progenitors radiation at 100 cGy reduced CFU-GM by 74% but had no significant effect on CFU-GEMM and BFU-E. Radiation at 200 cGy decreased CFU-GEMM by 72%, BFU-E by 54%, and CFU-GM by 84%; 400 cGy further decreased CFU-GEMM by 83%, BFU-E by 81%, and CFU-GM by 93%. Pretreatment with amifostine resulted in twofold stimulation of CFU-GEMM and BFU-E colonies. All BFU-E colonies were protected up to 200 cGy. For CFU-GEMM amifostine pretreatment resulting in 68% at 200 cGy and 31% at 400 cGy. For CFU-GM colonies it was 54% at 100 cGy, 32% at 200 cGy, and 12% at 400 cGy. Conclusions: Mesenchymal progenitor cell subpopulations are differentially sensitive to radiation. Amifostine protects both mesenchymal and hematopoietic progenitors against radiation injury, though the level of protection appears to be dependent upon the sensitivities of these progenitor cells to radiation. Amifostine is a potent stimulant of BFU-E and CFU-GEMM progenitor colonies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Amifostin
  • Hematopoietic progenitors
  • Mesenchymal progenitor cells
  • Radioprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Hematology


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