Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Gianni Parise




Radiation is a prominent source of environmental oxidative stress that can have deleterious consequences for health. Despite its well-known negative effects, radiation is commonly employed clinically for disease treatment and diagnosis. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT), used in the treatment of a variety of diseases, is preceded by a myeloablative regimen that usually involves radiation. Mortality associated with BMT is quite high and the aggressive radiation pre-treatment regimen contributes to these high rates of mortality. Interventions that inhibit the negative consequences of irradiation and promote BMT success would have significant implications for public health. Exercise-induced adaptations in numerous body tissues have been associated with amelioration of a variety of pathologies, particularly those associated with oxidative stress, and an overall improvement in health. Whether these adaptations can protect from damage induced by an external source of oxidative stress, such as a high dose of radiation, or promote BMT success is unknown. The purpose of this thesis was to determine if the adaptive response to exercise training could inhibit the negative effects of irradiation in skeletal muscle and bone marrow, and promote BMT success. To apply these adaptations to BMT, we examined the response of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and their niche to exercise. We report that muscle from exercise trained mice exhibits an enhanced response to radiation characterized by increased antioxidant and mitochondrial metabolic enzyme activity. Extending these findings to cells in the bone marrow, we demonstrated that exercise training inhibited radiation-induced genotoxicity and cytotoxicity. With respect to BMT, exercise training increased HSC quantity with no effects on HSC function; however, preconditioning BMT recipients with exercise training resulted in improved probability of survival and enhanced hematopoietic regeneration. Collectively, results from the studies presented herein suggest that exercise training may be a successful therapeutic intervention to inhibit the damaging effects of radiation and improve BMT outcomes.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."