Total body irradiation (TBI) leads to dose- and tissue-specific lethality. In the current study, we demonstrate that a mitochondrion-targeted nitroxide JP4-039 given once 24 hours after 9-10 Gy TBI significantly improves mouse survival, and the recovery of intestinal barrier, differentiation and stem cell functions. The GI-protective effects are associated with rapid and selective induction of tight junction proteins and cytokines including TGF-β, IL-10, IL-17a, IL-22 and Notch signaling long before bone marrow depletion. However, no change was observed in crypt death or the expression of prototypic pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-6 or IL-1β. Surprisingly, bone marrow transplantation (BMT) performed 24 hours after TBI improves intestinal barrier and stem cell recovery with induction of IL-10, IL-17a, IL-22, and Notch signaling. Further, BMT-rescued TBI survivors display increased intestinal permeability, impaired ISC function and proliferation, but not obvious intestinal inflammation or increased epithelial death. These findings identify intestinal epithelium as a novel target of radiation mitigation, and potential strategies to enhance ISC recovery and regeneration after accidental or medical exposures.