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Effects of Spaceflight on the Immune System


Thiel, Cora S; Lauber, Beatrice A; Layer, Liliana E; Ullrich, Oliver (2018). Effects of Spaceflight on the Immune System. In: Pathak, Yashwant; Araújo dos Santos, Marlise; Zea, Luis. Handbook of Space Pharmaceuticals. Cham: Springer, Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

The immune system belongs to the most affected systems during spaceflight, and sensitivity of cells of the human immune system to reduced gravity has been confirmed in numerous studies in real and simulated microgravity. Immune system dysfunction during spaceflight represents a substantial risk for exploration class mission knowledge about the clinical, cellular, and genetic basis of immune system response, and adaptation to altered gravity will provide key information for appropriate risk management, efficient monitoring, and countermeasures against existing limiting factors for human health and performance during manned exploration of the solar system. In spite of the immune system dysregulation, studies indicate an adaptation reaction of the immune system to the new microgravity environment, at least for the T-cell system, starting after 2 weeks and continuing until 6 months or longer, reflected by cytokine concentrations in blood plasma or in stimulation assays. At the cellular level, rapid adaptation responses could be detected as early as after seconds until minutes in T cells and macrophages. Therefore, adaptive responses of cells and the whole organism could be expected under microgravity and altered gravity in general. Preventive countermeasures should therefore consider support and stabilization of the endogenous adaptation programs. Potential countermeasures for risk mitigation are summarized in this chapter. We assume that the immune systems not only have a significant adaptation potential when challenged with low gravitational environments but also provide interesting preventive and therapeutic options for long-term space missions.

Abstract

The immune system belongs to the most affected systems during spaceflight, and sensitivity of cells of the human immune system to reduced gravity has been confirmed in numerous studies in real and simulated microgravity. Immune system dysfunction during spaceflight represents a substantial risk for exploration class mission knowledge about the clinical, cellular, and genetic basis of immune system response, and adaptation to altered gravity will provide key information for appropriate risk management, efficient monitoring, and countermeasures against existing limiting factors for human health and performance during manned exploration of the solar system. In spite of the immune system dysregulation, studies indicate an adaptation reaction of the immune system to the new microgravity environment, at least for the T-cell system, starting after 2 weeks and continuing until 6 months or longer, reflected by cytokine concentrations in blood plasma or in stimulation assays. At the cellular level, rapid adaptation responses could be detected as early as after seconds until minutes in T cells and macrophages. Therefore, adaptive responses of cells and the whole organism could be expected under microgravity and altered gravity in general. Preventive countermeasures should therefore consider support and stabilization of the endogenous adaptation programs. Potential countermeasures for risk mitigation are summarized in this chapter. We assume that the immune systems not only have a significant adaptation potential when challenged with low gravitational environments but also provide interesting preventive and therapeutic options for long-term space missions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:25 October 2018
Deposited On:01 Mar 2019 13:31
Last Modified:01 Mar 2019 13:32
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:9783319509099
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50909-9_23-1

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