Human Mononuclear Cell in Vitro Activation in Microgravity and Post-Spaceflight

  • Richard Meehan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 225)


The results of postflight and inflight human in vitro lymphocyte experiments have been reviewed. The cumulative data indicate that mitogen-stimulated T-cell proliferation is blunted following short-duration missions. Since similar responses may also be obtained following exposure to non-spaceflight stressors (hypoxia and academic stress), it is unclear if microgravity per se aggravates this response. Our studies indicate that stress-induced impaired PHA- and PWM-stimulated activation can be detected within the first 24 hours in culture at the level of protein synthesis. While the mechanism for neuroendocrine-mediated blunted mitogen stimulated T cell proliferation has not been elucidated, it is not aggravated by autologous plasma and does not require changes in mononuclear cell subpopulations. While prior studies indicate lymphocyte activation is influenced by altering G forces on in vitro cultures, impaired cellular interactions or suboptimal microenvironments related to reduced cell densities in microgravity may contribute to the greatly impaired mitogen stimulated proliferation responses observed on Spacelab flights. It will be necessary to perform lymphocyte functional assays on crewmembers during spaceflight to determine the contribution of microgravity per se on altered human immune competence.


Chamber Exposure Thymidine Uptake Academic Stress Autologous Plasma Human Mononuclear Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Meehan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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