Effects of Obesity and Exercise on Bone Marrow Progenitor Cells after Radiation

Russell Emmons, Matthew Ngu, Guanying Xu, Diego Hernández-Saavedra, Hong Chen, Michael De Lisio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction The late effects of radiation therapy can have significant consequences for the health and quality of life of long-term cancer survivors. Radiation induces persistent alterations in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) and the bone marrow environment; however, how relevant host factors such as obesity and exercise differentially regulate HSPC content and the bone marrow environment after radiation exposure remains unknown. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate how the combination of obesity and exercise training modulates HSPC and their niche after sublethal radiation exposure in mice. Methods Mice fed either a control or a high-fat diet to induce obesity remained sedentary or underwent a progressive treadmill exercise program. At 13 wk of age, mice were irradiated (3 Gy) and continued their specific diets and exercise program for four more weeks. Results Exercise-trained mice had significantly higher quantities of several HSPC subpopulations and bone marrow stromal cell populations, whereas HSPC subpopulations were significantly lower in obese mice after radiation. Reactive oxygen species content was significantly decreased in HSPC with exercise training. Proteomics analysis of bone marrow supernatant revealed clustering of biologically relevant changes in exercise-trained mice. Functional evaluation of bone marrow supernatant revealed a significant increase in leukemia blast viability in obese mice but not in the exercise-trained mice (P < 0.05). Conclusion Together, these data suggest that exercise training partially restores the negative effects of obesity on HSPC and their niche after radiation exposure. As such, exercise training should be considered to mitigate the late effects of radiation therapy on the hematopoietic system for cancer survivors with or without obesity who have undergone radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1126-1136
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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