Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is the treatment of choice for many leukemias, solid tumors, and metabolic diseases. The field of bone marrow research is highly dependent on in vivo experimentation, because in vitro techniques do not mimic these complicated in vivo systems. Therefore, understanding the medical and husbandry care needs of these transiently immunodeficient bone marrow recipient animals is crucial for researchers, veterinary and animal care personnel. Here we discuss the principles of bone marrow transplantation, mouse pathogens that can interfere with transplantation research, and important husbandry and veterinary practices for mice that may help to minimize unnecessary infections during the transplantation process. Whole-body irradiation is one of the most common tools for myeloablation of the recipient's bone marrow. We discuss the crucial role of the irradiator for BMT research and the importance of aseptic husbandry practices to lessen the possibility of the irradiator for being a source for disease transmission. Finally, we discuss some important guidelines for Institutional Animal Use and Care Committees reviewing irradiation and BMT protocols.
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