We have studied conversion of marrow cells to skeletal muscle in cardiotoxin-injured anterior tibialis muscle in a green fluorescent protein (GFP) to C57BL/6 transplantation model and ascertained that total body irradiation (TBI) with establishment of chimerism is a critical factor. Local irradiation has little effect in lower doses and was detrimental at higher doses. Whole body (1000 cGy) with shielding of the leg or a combination of 500 cGy TBI and 500 cGy local radiations was found to give the best results. In nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient (NOD-SCID) recipients, we were able to show that conversion could occur without radiation, albeit at relatively lower levels. Within 3 days of cardiotoxin injury, GFP-positive mononuclear cells were seen in the muscle, and within 2 weeks GFP-positive muscle fibers were identified. Conversion rates were increased by increasing donor-cell dose. Timing of the cardiotoxin injury relative to the transplantation was critical. These studies show that variables in transplantation and injury are critical features of marrow-to-muscle conversions. Irradiation primarily effects conversion by promoting chimerism. These data may explain the differences in the literature for the frequency of marrow-to-skeletal muscle conversion and can set a platform for future models and perhaps clinical protocols.
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