The progression of radiation injury in a Wistar rat model of partial body irradiation with ∼5% bone marrow shielding


Beach, Tyler, James Bakke, Ed Riccio, Harold S. Javitz, Denise Nishita, Shweta Kapur, Deborah I. Bunin, and Polly Y. Chang. “The Progression of Radiation Injury in a Wistar Rat Model of Partial Body Irradiation with∼ 5% Bone Marrow Shielding.” International Journal of Radiation Biology just-accepted (2023): 1-20.



To describe the dose response relationship and natural history of radiation injury in the Wistar rat and its suitability for use in medical countermeasures (MCM) testing.

Materials & Methods

In two separate studies, male and female rats were exposed to partial body irradiation (PBI) with 5% bone marrow sparing. Animals were X-ray irradiated from 7 to 12 Gy at 7–10 weeks of age. Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) survival at 30 days and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (DEARE) survival at 182 days were assessed. Radiation effects were determined by clinical observations, body weights, hematology, clinical chemistry, magnetic resonance imaging of lung, whole-body plethysmography, and histopathology.


Rats developed canonical ARS responses of hematopoietic atrophy and gastrointestinal injury resulting in mortality at doses ≥8Gy in males and ≥8.5 Gy in females. DEARE mortality occurred at doses ≥8Gy for both sexes. Findings indicate lung, kidney, and/or liver injury, and persistent hematological dysregulation, revealing multi-organ injury as a DEARE.


The Wistar rat PBI model is suitable for testing MCMs against hematopoietic and gastrointestinal ARS. DEARE multi-organ injury occurred in both sexes irradiated with 8–9Gy, also suggesting suitability for polypharmacy studies addressing the combination of ARS and DEARE injury.

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