The present investigation is a continuation of efforts to characterize the radioprotective potential of priming with vincristine (VcR). In this study, the postirradiation recovery kinetics of the marrow's hematopoietic stem cell, progenitor cell, and stromal cell compartments were monitored following exposure to a range of sublethal radiation doses to determine (a) the optimal VcR/radiation intertreatment interval for achieving maximal hematopoietic protection, (b) whether this optimal interval is influenced by the dose of radiation administered, and (c) whether the radioprotection observed involves the hematopoietic stroma. The results demonstrate that the degree of radioprotection observed was significantly influenced by the scheduling of the VcR priming dose with respect to the radiation exposure. An intertreatment interval of 24 h provided maximal radioprotective benefit irrespective of the radiation dose administered. Additionally, the radioprotection following VcR priming appeared to be more the result of an accelerated recovery in the hematopoietic stem cell and progenitor cell compartments than a change in their intrinsic radiosensitivity. The data also suggest that this accelerated recovery was not a consequence of greater radioprotection of marrow stroma. Finally, the radioprotection observed following VcR priming did not appear to involve a selective lineage response by either the erythroid or the granulomonocytic progenitor compartments.

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