An experimental model has been developed for the study of combined effects of partial body irradiation (PBI) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in which irradiation is delivered to the thorax 24 hr prior to induction of GVHD in hybrid mice by the injection of parental lymphoid cells.In mice irradiated to 1000 cGy or exposed to low doses of allogeneic lymphoid cells (20x106), survival was 100% at 250 days. In contrast, combination of the two treatments, GVHD and PBI, resulted in a mortality of 83% and a mean survival time of 29 days, indicating synergy between GVHD and PBI. From histological studies of the lung it appeared that about 40% of the deaths occurring after combined GVHD/PBR treatment might be attributable to pneumonia. The cause of death in the remaining mice receiving combined treatment is not known. Mice receiving combined PBI/lymphoid cell treatment develop a characteristic skin lesion that is not seen in nonirradiated mice and is confined to the irradiated area.The effect of preinduction PBR on the timing and severity of GVHD is similar to that which would be produced by an increase in the number of effector cells.
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