There continues to be a major effort in the United States to develop mitigators for the treatment of mass casualties that received high-intensity acute ionizing radiation exposures from the detonation of an improvised nuclear device during a radiological terrorist attack. The ideal countermeasure should be effective when administered after exposure, and over a wide range of absorbed doses. We have previously shown that the administration of a subcutaneous incision of a defined length, if administered within minutes after irradiation, protected young adult female C57BL/6 mice against radiation-induced lethality, and increased survival after total-body exposure to an LD50/30 X-ray dose from 50% to over 90%. We refer to this approach as "protective wounding". In this article, we report on our efforts to further optimize, characterize and demonstrate the validity of the protective wounding response by comparing the response of female and male mice, varying the radiation dose, the size of the wound, and the timing of wounding with respect to administration of the radiation dose. Both male and female mice that received a subcutaneous incision after irradiation were significantly protected from radiation lethality. We observed that the extent of protection against lethality after an LD50/30 X-ray dose was independent of the size of the subcutaneous cut, and that a 3 mm subcutaneous incision is effective at enhancing the survival of mice exposed to a broad range of radiation doses (LD15-LD100). Over the range of 6.2-6.7 Gy, the increase in survival observed in mice that received an incision was associated with an enhanced recovery of hematopoiesis. The enhanced rate of recovery of hematopoiesis was preceded by an increase in the production of a select group of cytokines. Thus, a thorough knowledge of the timing of the cytokine cascade after wounding could aid in the development of novel pharmacological radiation countermeasures that can be administered several days after the actual radiation exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging