Three different methods of measuring the proliferative capacity of transplanted mouse bone marrow were used to study the effects of preirradiation of the recipient. Recipient mice were exposed to 700 R and given graded numbers of syngeneic bone marrow. 7 days were allowed for proliferation of these cells, and then the granulocytic or erythrocytic progeny was measured. The former was determined by the response to endotoxin, and the latter by the incorporation of radioactive iron into newly formed red blood cells. Erythropoiesis, therefore, could be measured independently from granulopoiesis by these techniques. The third method used was the spleen colony method of Till and McCulloch (5).

Recipient animals exposed to 150 R preirradiation, 7 days before 700 R and bone marrow transplantation, demonstrated an increase in erythropoiesis with a concommittant decrease in granulopoiesis compared to similar recipients not preirradiated. The spleen colony technique showed that while the number of colonies were the same in both groups, the colonies themselves were significantly larger in the preirradiated animals. Since such colonies are primarily erythropoietic, this finding is consistent with the other methods. The results can be explained by assuming the presence of a hematopoietic stem cell which, in these preirradiated recipients, is directed towards erythropoiesis at the expense of granulopoiesis.

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