In heavily irradiated mice, bone marrow regeneration of either endogenous or exogenous origin was shown to occur in discrete foci comparable to the more intensively studied spleen colonies. The number of endogenous bone marrow colonies was inversely related to dose of whole body X-irradiation. Endogenous marrow colonies were found after higher doses of irradiation than were endogenous spleen colonies. Most of them were granulocytic in nature.
Exogenous bone marrow colonies in lethally irradiated mice injected with bone marrow cells were proportional in number to the dose of cells injected, appeared at a time comparable to spleen colonies like which, at 7 or 8 days, they were of single differentiated cell line, either granuloid or erythroid or megakaryocytic, with a small percentage of "mixed" colonies.
Whereas erythroid colonies outnumber granuloid colonies in spleen, either in situ or subcutaneously transplanted (E:G colony ratio of about 3.5), granuloid colonies outnumber erythroid in bone marrow (E:G colony ratio of about 0.7). The characteristic E:G colony ratios of spleen and marrow appear more likely to be the result of a hemopoietic organ stromal influence on pluripotent colony forming units (CFU's) than of selective lodgment of committed (unipotent) granuloid and erythroid CFU's in bone marrow and spleen, respectively, as indicated by the following.
Bone marrow stem cells (CFU) which had reseeded the marrow cavity of irradiated primary recipients 18–24 hr earlier, were reharvested and retransplanted intravenously into irradiated secondary hosts. The E:G colony ratio of the colonies formed in the spleen of the secondary hosts was typical of primary spleen colonies (2.8), that of the colonies formed in the marrow cavity was typical of bone marrow colonies (0.6). Pieces of marrow stroma containing reseeded CPU's from the contralateral femur of these same primary recipients were implanted by trocar directly into the spleens of other irradiated secondary recipients. Those CPU's that developed in the intrasplenic-implanted marrow stroma yielded an. E:G colony ratio of 0.1. Those that migrated into the contiguous and remote portions of the spleen gave E:G colony ratios of 2.9 and 2.4, respectively.
Irradiated marrow stroma and normal spleen CPU's (a 1 mm cube of spleen) were loaded into the same trocar and implanted directly into the spleens of irradiated mice. The spleen CFU's that migrated into the implanted marrow stroma yielded five granuloid and two mixed colonies. The larger number that developed in the host spleen yielded an E:G colony ratio of 2.9 or higher.
Of those 19 mixed colonies that bridged the junction of spleen and implanted marrow stroma in each of the above two experiments, in every case, the erythroid portion of the colony was in the splenic stroma, the granuloid portion was in the marrow stroma.