Detonation of a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in an urban setting would result in >1 million casualties, the majority of which would present with combined injuries. Combined injuries, such as peripheral tissue trauma and radiation exposure, trigger inflammatory events that lead to multiple organ dysfunction (MOD) and death, with gastrointestinal (GI) and pulmonary involvement playing crucial roles. The objective of this study was to develop an animal model of combined injuries, peripheral tissue trauma (TBX animal model) combined with total body irradiation with 5% bone marrow shielding (TBI/BM5) to investigate if peripheral tissue trauma contributes to reduced survival. Male C57BL/6J mice were exposed to TBX10%, irradiation (TBI/BM5), or combined injuries (TBX10% + TBI/BM5). Experiments were conducted to evaluate mortality at day 7 after TBI/BM5. Serial euthanasia was performed at day 1, 3 and 6 or 7 after TBI/BM5 to evaluate the time course of pathophysiologic processes in combined injuries. Functional tests were performed to assess pulmonary function and GI motility. Postmortem samples of lungs and jejunum were collected to assess tissue damage. Results indicated higher lethality and shorter survival in the TBX10% +T BI/BM5 group than in the TBX10% or TBI/BM5 groups (day 1 vs. day 7 and 6, respectively). TBI/BM5 alone had no effects on the lungs but significantly impaired GI function at day 6. As expected, in the animals that received severe trauma (TBX10%), we observed impairment in lung function and delay in GI transit in the first 3 days, effects that decreased at later time points. Trauma combined with radiation (TBX10% + TBI/BM5) significantly augmented impairment of the lung and GI function in comparison to TBX10% and TBI/BM5 groups at 24 h. Histologic evaluation indicated that combined injuries caused greater tissue damage in the intestines in TBX10% + TBI/BM5 group when compared to other groups. We describe here the first combined tissue trauma/radiation injury model that will allow conduction of mechanistic studies to identify new therapeutic targets and serve as a platform for testing novel therapeutic interventions.
Antonic V1, Jackson IL1, Ganga G1, Shea-Donohue T1, Vujaskovic Z1.