Transplantation of bone marrow in victims of the Chernobyl accident

Bone marrow transplants were carried out in 13 patients suffering from acute irradiation sickness after the Chernobyl accident. Only blood relations of the patients were used as donors. The number of bone marrow cells transplanted must be at least 2x108 per kilogram of recipient weight. The experience of the present bone marrow transplants has shown defects in clinical methods of early diagnosis (during the first 7-10 days after exposure) of acute radiation injuries to the skin, intestine and lungs which are incompatible with survival. Another problem with bone marrow transplants for patients suffering from acute radiation sickness is to determine to what extent the depression of marrow activity is irreversible. Spontaneous regeneration of myelopoiesis was observed 22-30 days after exposure in patients who had received doses of 7-9 Gy. A lapse of this order before the onset regeneration is therefore, in principle, compatible with survival under the conditions of modern support therapy. Thus, the belief that prolonged acute radiation pancytopenia which is incompatible with survival starts already at doses of 5-6 Gy is evidently incorrect, at least for the relatively low exposure dose rates experienced by this group of victims. The results of bone marrow transplants in victims of the Chernobyl accident suggest that, in future, the following rules should be observed in transplanting human bone marrow to victims of acute radiation sickness: (1) Only HLA-identical transplants should be carried out; and (2) HLA-identical bone marrow transplants should be carried out only in patients who have received whole body doses of gamma radiation of 9.0 Gy or more. (author). 1 tab.


Baranov, A.E.


biological regeneration; bone marrow; chernobylsk-4 reactor; radiation accidents; radiation doses; radiation injuries; therapy; accidents; biological effects; biological radiation effects; biological recovery; body; diseases; enriched uranium reactors; graphite moderated reactors; hematopoietic system; injuries; lwgr type reactors; medicine; organs; power reactors; radiation effects; reactors; thermal reactors

Subject Category

Actual Accidents


Report; International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna (Austria); Medical aspects of the Chernobyl accident; IAEA-TECDOC--516.; Jul 1988.; 381 p.; p. 257-266.

Place of Publication

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)


Available from INIS in electronic form.