Lymphoid reconstitution after transplantation of congenic hematopoietic cells in busulfan-treated mice

A. M. Yeager, C. Shinn, D. M. Pardoll

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38 Scopus citations


The effects of pretransplant conditioning with high-dose busulfan, a myeloablative but nonimmunosuppressive alkylating agent, on reconstitution of lymphoid tissues by donor cells after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has not been extensively examined. We used flow cytometric analyses to study the kinetics and extent of lymphocyte repopulation in C57BL/6 mice (immunophenotype Ly-5.2) given graded doses of busulfan (10 to 100 mg/kg) or total body irradiation (TBI; 900 rad) and hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT; transplantation of bone marrow and spleen cells) from congenic Ly-5.1 donors. Mice transplanted after 10 mg/kg of busulfan had slow and incomplete lymphoid engraftment; only 6% to 11% of lymphocytes in the peripheral blood, lymph nodes, and spleen were positive for Ly-5.1 at 30 days after transplant, slightly increased to 13% to 20% at 60 days, and stabilized at 40% to 46% by 180 days after HCT. Higher doses of busulfan (20 to 100 mg/kg) provided dose-dependent congenic lymphoid reconstitution. Thirty days after HCT, the range of Ly-5.1 cells in blood, lymph nodes, and spleen of Ly-5.2 recipient mice was 43% to 54% after 20 mg/kg of busulfan, 66% to 71% after 50 to 80 mg/kg, and 77% to 85% after 100 mg/kg. Sixty days after transplant, lymphoid chimerism increased to 57% to 68% in 20 mg/kg recipients, 72% to 79% after 35 mg/kg, and 75% to 90% in animals given 50 mg/kg or greater, as seen in radiation chimeras. Despite slower early reconstitution after lower doses of busulfan, donor lymphocytes exceeded 90% to 95% by 90 to 120 days after HCT in all mice given at least 20 mg/kg. Even though busulfan lacks directly immunosuppressive properties, virtually complete sustained lymphoid reconstitution by transplanted congenic donor stem cells occurs after its administration. These observations suggest that pretreatment with busulfan may be effective in gene therapy strategies that involve infusion of autologous marrow cells into which functional genes have been inserted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3312-3316
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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