Growth retardation and depigmentation of hair after high-dose busulfan and congenic hematopoietic cell transplantation in mice

Bone Marrow Transplant. 1992 Mar;9(3):199-204.


Busulfan, a myeloablative but non-immunosuppressive alkylating agent, is used extensively in clinical bone marrow transplantation (BMT), but the effects of high-dose administration have not been previously evaluated in preclinical BMT settings with young murine recipients. We compared the survival and growth of C57BL/6 mice given graded single doses of busulfan (10-100 mg/kg) or total body irradiation (TBI; 900 cGy) at age 9 days and hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT; transplantation of congenic bone marrow and spleen cells) 24 h later. The 30-day survival was 87-100% in mice transplanted after 10-40 mg/kg busulfan and 79% after TBI, but fell to 54% and 33%, respectively, after 80 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg busulfan, suggesting that this latter dosage range represents the LD50 for single-dose busulfan in young C57BL/6 mice given stem cell rescue. The weights of 10-week-old mice given HCT after lower doses of busulfan ranged from 87% of control at 10 mg/kg to 64-69% of control in mice conditioned with 35-65 mg/kg busulfan or TBI. Impairment of weight gain was most striking (approximately 50% of control) in mice transplanted after 80-100 mg/kg busulfan. Despite retardation of somatic growth, the brain weights of busulfan-conditioned mice remained at least 90% of control, and there were no obvious neuropathological alterations in the brains of these animals. All mice treated with at least 20 mg/kg busulfan or TBI lost hair by 3-4 weeks after transplant.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Busulfan / administration & dosage
  • Busulfan / toxicity*
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Hair Color / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology*


  • Busulfan