Generation of bone marrow chimeras using X-ray irradiation: comparison to cesium irradiation and use in immunotherapy


  • Jason Eng Amgen Research
  • Jessica Orf Amgen Research
  • Kristy Perez Amgen Research
  • Deepali Sawant Amgen Research
  • Jason DeVoss Amgen Research



immunotherapy, bone marrow chimera, X-ray irradiation, cesium irradiation, tumor model, syngeneic


Bone marrow chimeras represent a key tool employed to understand biological contributions stemming from the hematopoietic versus the stromal compartment. In most institutions, cesium irradiators are used to lethally irradiate recipient animals prior to the injection of donor bone marrow. Cesium irradiators, however, have significant liabilities—including concerns around domestic security. Recently, X-ray irradiators have been implemented as a potential alternative to cesium sources. Only a small number of publications in the literature have attempted to compare these two modalities and, in most cases, the emphasis was on irradiation of human blood productions. We were able to find only a single study that directly compared X-ray and cesium technologies in the generation of murine bone marrow chimeras, a standard laboratory practice. This study focused on chimerism in the blood of recipient animals. In the present study, we begin by comparing cesium and X-ray based sources for irradiation, then transition to using X-ray-based systems for immunology models with an emphasis on immunotherapy of cancer in immunocompetent mouse models—specifically evaluating chimerism in the blood, spleen, and tumor microenvironment. While our data demonstrate that the two platforms are functionally comparable and suggest that X-ray based technology is a suitable alternative to cesium sources. We also highlight a difference in chimerism between the peripheral (blood, spleen) and tumor compartments that is observed using both technologies. While the overall degree of chimerism in the peripheral tissues is very high, the degree of chimerism in the tumor is cell type specific with T and NK cells showing lower chimerism than other cell types.

Author Biography

Jason DeVoss, Amgen Research

Principal Scientist, Amgen Research, Oncology and Inflammation



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How to Cite

Eng J, Orf J, Perez K, Sawant D, DeVoss J. Generation of bone marrow chimeras using X-ray irradiation: comparison to cesium irradiation and use in immunotherapy. J Biol Methods [Internet]. 2020Feb.17 [cited 2022Aug.11];7(1):e125. Available from: