Biochemical Profile (Biochem Profile) - 03.25.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Biochem Profile experiment tests blood and urine samples obtained from astronauts before, during and after spaceflight. Specific proteins and chemicals in the samples are used as biomarkers, or indicators of health. Post-flight analysis yields a database of samples and test results, which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body.
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OpNom Biochem Profile
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - October 2015
Previous ISS Missions
This is the initial performance of this investigation.
The International Space Station (ISS) provides a platform to investigate the effects of microgravity on human physiology prior to exploration class missions. Biological samples provide a means for investigating the physiological responses to spaceflight. The collection and analysis of these samples will provide a valuable resource.
This comprehensive database may be used to investigate the effects of space flight on human physiology and for the assessment of proposed countermeasures evaluating their effect on different physiological systems. Multiple samples from an individual will be collected during the pre-, in- and postflight phases of ISS missions.
The establishment of the Biochemical Profile experiment will provide a multi-disciplinary database enabling supporting evidence to meet the goals of scientific and programmatic relevance to the space program.
As long-duration space flights continue and the operational suite of countermeasures is modified, the food system is updated, and the duration of missions lengthens, it will be important to evaluate and monitor a broad set of biomarkers for key physiological systems. The Nutritional Status Assessment Supplemental Medical Objective (aka “Nutrition SMO”) was initiated in 2006, and yielded significant clinical, operational, and research data. This project aims to update and extend the Nutrition SMO.
Nutrition SMO data have been used to help identify or explain medical, scientific, and even engineering issues that have occurred during or after International Space Station missions. The data have been used by Medical Operations on multiple occasions, to confirm the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation, to evaluate blood and urine chemistries, and to evaluate the effects of new exercise devices on bone and calcium metabolism. The ISS Program Office has used these data to determine factors contributing to the Urine Processor Assembly failure and to make forward operational decisions. Perhaps most striking, the data provided evidence that one-carbon metabolism may be altered in crewmembers who experienced vision changes post flight, the highest Human Research Program risk. The relationship between nutritional status and 1-carbon metabolism would likely never have been discovered if the Nutrition SMO was not being conducted.
The human body changes in various ways in microgravity, and the Biochemical Profile experiment establishes a database of key metabolic differences that can be detected using blood and urine samples. The database will improve efforts to understand and reduce the risks associated with long-duration space missions. Scientists can also test the effectiveness of possible countermeasures like exercise and nutrition, which will improve recommendations for future long-duration and exploration missions. The Biochemical Profile also assesses a broad population of crewmembers for the first time, identifying issues specific to groups like men and women, repeat long-duration travelers and others. Establishing a chemical profile of the body’s response to spaceflight will help scientists understand how different systems in the body interact in microgravity in different groups of people.
An improved understanding of the biochemical effects of microgravity could also help patients with limited mobility on Earth, such as those on bed rest. Understanding how various physiological systems respond and interact to changing gravity conditions could help physicians design different treatments or exercises for people with limited mobility.
1.) This investigation requests participation from all USOS ISS crewmembers.
2.) Crewmembers must be fasted for at least 8 hours prior to blood draws.
3.) Pre- and postflight samples are stored at -80° C
4.) In-flight samples must remain frozen through landing and delivery to PI (-20°C is max allowable temp at delivery to PI; -80°C preferred).
5.) Blood draw should be performed within 24 hours of urine collection start.
6.) Exercise should not be performed in the 8 hours prior to the blood draw.
7.) For a “six month” mission that is not exactly 180 days, the final session should be performed within 2 weeks of landing but greater than 3 weeks from the previous session. The FD 15 session can be scheduled ±5 days, all others can be collected ±14 days; however, there should be no less than 7 days between the FD 15 and FD 30 sessions and no less than 3 weeks between other collections.
8.) For a “one year” mission that is not exactly 360 days, the final session should be performed within 2 weeks of landing but greater than 3 weeks from the previous session. The FD 15 session can be scheduled ±5 days, all others can be collected ±14 days; however, there should be no less than 7 days between the FD 15 and FD 30 sessions and no less than 3 weeks between other collections.
In-flight operations for mission durations of six months will consist of five sessions scheduled on FD 15, 30, 60, 120, and 180 (or within 2 weeks of landing). For one-year missions, a total of 8 sessions will be required (on FD15, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, and 360/R-14). Each in-flight session includes a fasting blood draw and 24-hour void-by-void urine collection. In-flight blood will be processed using the ISS centrifuge and stored in the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer (MELFI) on the ISS until return to earth. Two urine aliquots will be removed from the in-flight urine collection device and frozen. When possible, all blood and urine collection sessions will be combined with medical operations testing or on-going research investigations to minimize inconveniences for crewmembers. Additionally, body mass measurement using the HRF SLAMMD will be determined monthly throughout the crewmember’s flight.
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