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Project Title:  Flight-Induced Changes in Immune Defenses-DSO 498 Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2008 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 04/01/1999  
End Date: 04/01/2008  
Task Last Updated: 02/26/2009 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Pierson, Duane L Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  Mail Code SK24 
Building 37, Room 1119A, 2101 NASA Parkway 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: duane.l.pierson@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7166  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Kaur, Indreshpal  Enterprise Advisory Services Incorporated 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. None 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: McCollum, Suzanne  
Center Contact: 281 483-7307 
suzanne.g.mccollum@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 96-OLMSA-01 
Grant/Contract No.: None 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: Pre/Post Flight 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Immune:Risk of Adverse Health Event Due to Altered Immune Response (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) IM01:We do not know to what extent spaceflight alters various aspects of human immunity during spaceflight missions up to 6 months (IRP Rev E)
(2) IM02:It is necessary to define a flight standard related to spaceflight-associated immune system dysregulation (IRP Rev E)
(3) IM05:What is the time course and etiology of immune changes? (MERGED with IM1, per IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: ISS

STS-96, 95, 93, 107

In flight development phase (data collection has begun)

Task Description: Space flight may affect the delicate host-parasite relationship, thus increasing susceptibility to infectious disease. Changes in the human immune response during space flight suggest that the ability to meet infectious challenges may be attenuated. The early phases of the host response to infection depend on innate immunity in which a variety of innate resistance mechanisms recognize and respond to the presence of a pathogen. Innate immunity is present in all individuals at all times, does not increase with repeated exposure to a given pathogen, and does not discriminate between pathogens. Our hypothesis is: essential functions of neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells will be altered during space flight. The constraints inherent in space flight (e.g., few subjects) mandated the use of ground-based models to supplement flight investigations. These models included a closed population in a closed environmental chamber and Antarctic expeditioners. These studies evaluated quantitative and functional data from important components of the immune response such as: neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, and natural killer cells. Our objectives are to determine the effects of space flight on: (1) neutrophil and monocyte functions such as phagocytosis, degranulation, oxidative burst capacity, and expression of surface molecules (including adhesion molecules), and (2) natural-killer cell and lymphokine-activated killer cell cytotoxicity against target cells, and cytokine production. Results from these studies provide essential data complementing other ongoing space immunology investigations. Realization of our specific aims will increase our understanding of the host-parasite relationship and the risk of infectious disease during space flight.

To determine changes in the immune functions associated with space flight

Astronauts live and work in a relatively crowded and stressful environment. Stresses integral to space flight, such as containment, isolation, space radiation, physical exertion, psychosocial interactions, anxiety, and sleep deprivation, can adversely affect astronaut health. Addition of microgravity to the list of stressors and one can see that space flight is a unique stress environment.

Long duration exploration missions of the Moon and Mars require astronauts with fully functional and robust immune systems to reduce the development of infections and tumor cell. Successful completion of this investigation will result in a better understanding of the effects of space flight on an essential element of the human immune response. This will complete one more piece of the immunity puzzle in an effort to determine if long duration space flight results in adverse effects on the immune system. If medically significant changes occur, efforts to prevent or diminish adverse effects on the immune system will be investigated.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The reductions in neutrophil, monocyte, and NK-cell functions are most probably the result of stress associated with space flight. We believe that space flight is a unique stress model, and new insight into the physiological effects of stress will result from these immunological studies. Perhaps, the asymptomatic changes in immune function observed in these studies may be helpful in determining clinically relevant thresholds in the human immune response.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2008 
Task Progress: A second study investigated the ability of the shuttle crew members’ monocytes to respond to Gram-negative endotoxin that they could encounter during infections. Blood specimens were collected from 20 crew members and 15 control subjects 10 days before launch, 3 to 4 h after landing, and 15 days after landing and from crew members during their annual medical examination at 6 to 12 months after landing. When challenged with Gram-negative endotoxin, the crew member’s monocytes collected at all three time points produced lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-1 and higher levels of IL-1ra and IL-8 compared to those of control subjects. Cytokines were assessed by measuring the number of cells positive for intracellular cytokines. These values returned to normal 6 to 12 months after landing, except for IL-1ra, which was still higher (5 to 6-fold) than in controls. This phenomenon was accompanied by an increased expression of Toll-like receptor 4 and decreased expression of CD14 on the crew members’ monocytes at all time points. There were also increased levels of the lipopolysaccharide binding protein in the plasma of the crew members 3 to 4 hour and 15 days after landing. This study shows that spaceflight-associated factors (in-flight and preflight) modulate the response of monocytes to Gram-negative endotoxins.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 03/24/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Kaur I, Simons ER, Kapadia AS, Ott CM, Pierson DL. "Effect of spaceflight on ability of monocytes to respond to endotoxins of gram-negative bacteria." Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2008 Oct;15(10):1523-8. PMID: 18768671 , Oct-2008
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Stowe RP, Yetman DL, Storm WF, Sams CF, Pierson DL. "Neuroendocrine and immune responses to 16-day bed rest with realistic launch and landing G profiles." Aviat Space Environ Med. 2008 Feb;79(2):117-22. PMID: 18309909 , Feb-2008
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Kaur I, Simons ER, Castro VA, Mark Ott C, Pierson DL. "Changes in neutrophil functions in astronauts." Brain Behav Immun. 2004 Sep;18(5):443-50. PMID: 15265537 , Sep-2004
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Stowe RP, Sams CF, Pierson DL. "Effects of mission duration on neuroimmune responses in astronauts." Aviat Space Environ Med. 2003 Dec;74(12):1281-4. PMID: 14692473 , Jan-2004
Books/Book Chapters Pierson DL, Mehta SK, Stowe RP. "Reactivation of Latent Herpes Viruses in Astronauts." in "Psychoneuroimmunology. 4th edition." Ed. R. Ader. Amsterdam ; Boston : Elsevier/Academic Press, c2007. vol II, p. 851-868., Aug-2007
Books/Book Chapters Mehta SK, Pierson DL. "Artificial Gravity and the Immune System Function." in "Artificial gravity." Ed. G. Clement, A. Bukley. Hawthorne, Calif. : Microcosm Press ; New York : Springer, c2007., Sep-2007
Project Title:  Flight-Induced Changes in Immune Defenses-DSO 498 Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2005 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 04/01/1999  
End Date: 04/01/2008  
Task Last Updated: 11/23/2004 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Pierson, Duane L Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  Mail Code SK24 
Building 37, Room 1119A, 2101 NASA Parkway 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: duane.l.pierson@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7166  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Kaur, Indreshpal  Enterprise Advisory Services Incorporated 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. None 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: McCollum, Suzanne  
Center Contact: 281 483-7307 
suzanne.g.mccollum@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 96-OLMSA-01 
Grant/Contract No.: None 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: Pre/Post Flight 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Immune:Risk of Adverse Health Event Due to Altered Immune Response (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) IM01:We do not know to what extent spaceflight alters various aspects of human immunity during spaceflight missions up to 6 months (IRP Rev E)
(2) IM02:It is necessary to define a flight standard related to spaceflight-associated immune system dysregulation (IRP Rev E)
(3) IM05:What is the time course and etiology of immune changes? (MERGED with IM1, per IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: STS-96, 95, 93, 107

ISS

In flight development phase (data collection has begun)

Task Description: Space flight may affect the delicate host-parasite relationship, thus increasing susceptibility to infectious disease. Changes in the human immune response during space flight suggest that the ability to meet infectious challenges may be attenuated. The early phases of the host response to infection depend on innate immunity in which a variety of innate resistance mechanisms recognize and respond to the presence of a pathogen. Innate immunity is present in all individuals at all times, does not increase with repeated exposure to a given pathogen, and does not discriminate between pathogens. Our hypothesis is: essential functions of neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells will be altered during space flight. The constraints inherent in space flight (e.g., few subjects) mandated the use of ground-based models to supplement flight investigations. These models included a closed population in a closed environmental chamber and Antarctic expeditioners. These studies evaluated quantitative and functional data from important components of the immune response such as: neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, and natural killer cells. Our objectives are to determine the effects of space flight on: (1) neutrophil and monocyte functions such as phagocytosis, degranulation, oxidative burst capacity, and expression of surface molecules (including adhesion molecules), and (2) natural-killer cell and lymphokine-activated killer cell cytotoxicity against target cells, and cytokine production. Results from these studies provide essential data complementing other ongoing space immunology investigations. Realization of our specific aims will increase our understanding of the host-parasite relationship and the risk of infectious disease during space flight. To determine changes in the immune functions associated with space flight Astronauts live and work in a relatively crowded and stressful environment. Stresses integral to space flight, such as containment, isolation, space radiation, physical exertion, psychosocial interactions, anxiety, and sleep deprivation, can adversely affect astronaut health. Addition of microgravity to the list of stressors and one can see that space flight is a unique stress environment.

Long duration exploration missions of the Moon and Mars require astronauts with fully functional and robust immune systems to reduce the development of infections and tumor cell. Successful completion of this investigation will result in a better understanding of the effects of space flight on an essential element of the human immune response. This will complete one more piece of the immunity puzzle in an effort to determine if long duration space flight results in adverse effects on the immune system. If medically significant changes occur, efforts to prevent or diminish adverse effects on the immune system will be investigated.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The reductions in neutrophil, monocyte, and NK-cell functions are most probably the result of stress associated with space flight. We believe that space flight is a unique stress model, and new insight into the physiological effects of stress will result from these immunological studies. Perhaps, the asymptomatic changes in immune function observed in these studies may be helpful in determining clinically relevant thresholds in the human immune response.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2005 
Task Progress: Exploration class human spaceflight missions will require astronauts with robust immune systems. Innate immunity will be an essential element for the healthcare maintenance of astronauts during these lengthy expeditions. This study investigated neutrophil phagocytosis, oxidative burst and degranulation of 25 astronauts after 4 space shuttle missions and in 9 healthy control subjects. Space flight duration ranged from 5 to 11-d. Blood specimens were obtained 10-d before launch, immediately after landing, and 3-d after landing. The number of neutrophils increased by 85% at landing compared to preflight levels. The mean values for phagocytosis of Escherichia coli and oxidative burst capacity in neutrophils from astronauts on the 5-d mission were not significantly different from those observed in neutrophils from the control subjects. Before and after 9 to 11-d missions, however, phagocytosis and oxidative burst capacities were significantly lower than control mean values. No consistent changes in degranulation or expression of surface markers were observed before or after any of the space missions. This study indicates that neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative functions are affected factors associated with space flight and this relationship may depend on mission duration. .

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 03/24/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Kaur I, Simons ER, Castro VA, Ott CM, Pierson DL. "Changes in monocyte functions of astronauts." Brain Behav Immun. 2005 Nov;19(6):547-54. PMID: 15908177 , Nov-2006
Presentation Kaur, I., Simons, E.R., Fontenot, S.L., and Pierson, D.L. "Stresses of Spaceflight and the Response of Monocytes to LPS. " 11th Annual Meeting of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society. Titisee, Germany,

May-2004

Project Title:  Flight-Induced Changes in Immune Defenses-DSO 498 Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2004 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 12/01/1997  
End Date: 12/01/2004  
Task Last Updated: 03/31/2006 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Pierson, Duane L Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  Mail Code SK24 
Building 37, Room 1119A, 2101 NASA Parkway 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: duane.l.pierson@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7166  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. None 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: McCollum, Suzanne  
Center Contact: 281 483-7307 
suzanne.g.mccollum@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 96-OLMSA-01 
Grant/Contract No.: None 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: Pre/Post Flight 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Immune:Risk of Adverse Health Event Due to Altered Immune Response (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) IM01:We do not know to what extent spaceflight alters various aspects of human immunity during spaceflight missions up to 6 months (IRP Rev E)
(2) IM02:It is necessary to define a flight standard related to spaceflight-associated immune system dysregulation (IRP Rev E)
(3) IM05:What is the time course and etiology of immune changes? (MERGED with IM1, per IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: STS-96, 95, 93, 107

Task Description: Space flight may affect the delicate host-parasite relationship, thus increasing susceptibility to infectious disease. Changes in the human immune response during space flight suggest that the ability to meet infectious challenges may be attenuated. The early phases of the host response to infection depend on innate immunity in which a variety of innate resistance mechanisms recognize and respond to the presence of a pathogen. Innate immunity is present in all individuals at all times, does not increase with repeated exposure to a given pathogen, and does not discriminate between pathogens. Our hypothesis is: essential functions of neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells will be altered during space flight. The constraints inherent in space flight (e.g., few subjects) mandated the use of ground-based models to supplement flight investigations. These models included a closed population in a closed environmental chamber and Antarctic expeditioners. These studies evaluated quantitative and functional data from important components of the immune response such as: neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, and natural killer cells. Our objectives are to determine the effects of space flight on: (1) neutrophil and monocyte functions such as phagocytosis, degranulation, oxidative burst capacity, and expression of surface molecules (including adhesion molecules), and (2) natural-killer cell and lymphokine-activated killer cell cytotoxicity against target cells, and cytokine production. Results from these studies provide essential data complementing other ongoing space immunology investigations. Realization of our specific aims will increase our understanding of the host-parasite relationship and the risk of infectious disease during space flight.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The reductions in neutrophil, monocyte, and NK-cell functions are most probably the result of stress associated with space flight. We believe that space flight is a unique stress model, and new insight into the physiological effects of stress will result from these immunological studies. Perhaps, the asymptomatic changes in immune function observed in these studies may be helpful in determining clinically relevant thresholds in the human immune response.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2004 
Task Progress: No progress report this period.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 03/24/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2004