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Current Pathobiology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 185–192 | Cite as

Mechanistic Clues to Overcome Spaceflight-Induced Immune Dysregulation

  • George Makedonas
  • Alexander Chouker
  • Satish Mehta
  • Richard Simpson
  • Raymond Stowe
  • Clarence Sams
  • Duane Pierson
  • Brian Crucian
Effects of the Space Environment on Human Pathobiology (R Kerschmann, Section Editor)
  • 20 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Effects of the Space Environment on Human Pathobiology

Abstract

Purpose of Review

To recapitulate the latest findings from comprehensive studies of relatively long-duration spaceflight aboard the International Space Station, followed by exciting research published recently that illuminates the means by which we may be able to correct the immune system disturbances associated with spaceflight.

Recent Findings

While in space, most astronauts experience immune perturbations that may manifest as a form of immunodeficiency or, alternatively, a hypersensitivity reaction. When it occurs, the dysregulation persists stably for the duration of the mission. T lymphocytes – a population of the adaptive immune system that is essential for life – are particularly prone to spaceflight-induced malaise. Using cells from crewmembers during spaceflight, as well as cells in simulated microgravity model environments, researchers have begun to define specific alterations in antigen recognition, cell signaling, and gene expression patterns that may be responsible, in whole or in part, for the apparent depression in immune cell function.

Summary

Given the next major objective of the global space exploration community is voyage to Mars -- which means the missions will be of an unprecedented duration – it is reasonable to hypothesize the crewmembers’ health will be at greater risk than ever before. Thus, our communal goal is to devise a set of countermeasures that will obviate this risk. A prerequisite to this end is an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the immune perturbations.

Keywords

Spaceflight-induced immune dysregulation Virus-specific immunity Herpesvirus reactivation Modeled microgravity T cells Gene expression 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Makedonas
    • 1
  • Alexander Chouker
    • 2
  • Satish Mehta
    • 1
  • Richard Simpson
    • 3
  • Raymond Stowe
    • 4
  • Clarence Sams
    • 5
  • Duane Pierson
    • 5
  • Brian Crucian
    • 5
  1. 1.JES TechHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyHospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany
  3. 3.Laboratory of Integrated Physiology, Department of Health and Human PerformanceUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Microgen LaboratoriesLa MarqueUSA
  5. 5.Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences DivisionNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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