Late infusion of cloned marrow fibroblasts stimulates endogenous recovery from radiation-induced lung injury.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PloS one, Volume 8, Issue 3, p.e57179 (2013)


2013, April 2013, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Research Division, Comparative Medicine Core Facility, Scientific Imaging Core Facility


In the current study, we used a canine model of radiation-induced lung injury to test the effect of a single i.v. infusion of 10×10(6)/kg of marrow fibroblasts on the progression of damage following 15 Gy exposure to the right lung. The fibroblasts, designated DS1 cells, are a cloned population of immortalized cells isolated from a primary culture of marrow stromal cells. DS1 cells were infused at week 5 post-irradiation when lung damage was evident by imaging with high-resolution computed tomography (CT). At 13 weeks post-irradiation we found that 4 out of 5 dogs receiving DS1 cells had significantly improved pulmonary function compared to 0 out of 5 control dogs (p = 0.047, Fisher's Exact). Pulmonary function was measured as the single breath diffusion capacity-hematocrit (DLCO-Hct), the total inspiratory capacity (IC), and the total lung capacity (TLC), which differed significantly between control and DS1-treated dogs; p = 0.002, p = 0.005, and p = 0.004, respectively. The DS1-treated dogs also had less pneumonitis detected by CT imaging and an increased number of TTF-1 (thyroid transcription factor 1, NKX2-1) positive cells in the bronchioli and alveoli compared to control dogs. Endothelial-like progenitor cells (ELC) of host origin, detected by colony assays, were found in peripheral blood after DS1 cell infusion. ELC numbers peaked one day after infusion, and were not detectable by 7 days. These data suggest that infusion of marrow fibroblasts stimulates mobilization of ELC, which is associated with a reduction in otherwise progressive radiation-induced lung injury. We hypothesize that these two observations are related, specifically that circulating ELC contribute to increased angiogenesis, which facilitates endogenous lung repair.