Combined radiation-burn injury can occur in people exposed to nuclear explosions, nuclear accidents or radiological terrorist attacks. Using different combined radiation-burn injury animal models, the pathological mechanisms underlying combined radiation-burn injury and effective medical countermeasures have been explored for several years in China, mainly at our institute. Targeting key features of combined radiation-burn injury, several countermeasures have been developed. Fluid transfusion and the calcium antagonist verapamil can prevent early shock and improve myocardial function after combined radiation-burn injury. Recombinant human interleukin 4 ( rhIL-4) is able to effectively reduce bacterial infection and increase intestinal immunological ability. Chitosan-wrapped human defensin 5 (HD5) and glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) nanoparticles can increase the average survival time of animals with severe combined radiation-burn injury. After treatment by cervical sympathetic ganglia block (SB), hematopoietic function is promoted and the release of inflammatory cytokines is suppressed. The optimal time for escharectomy and allo-skin grafting is 24 h after injury. Transfusion of irradiated (20 Gy) or stored (4°C, 7 days) blood improves the survival of allo-skin grafting and allo-bone marrow cells. In conclusion, as our understanding of the mechanisms of combined radiation-burn injury has progressed, new countermeasures have been developed for its treatment. Because of the complexity of its pathology and the difficulty in clinical management, further efforts are needed to improve the treatment of this kind of injury.

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