OpNom: Salivary MarkersExperiment Overview
The Salivary Markers investigation involves the collection of blood, saliva, urine and a health assessment on six subjects pre-, in- and post-flight to determine if spaceflight induced immune system dysregulation increases infection susceptibility or poses a significant health risk to crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. The investigation utilizes a longitudinal, repeated measures design to determine the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on a host of salivary antimicrobial proteins (AMPs), latent viral reactivation, antibacterial properties of saliva, and blood markers associated with innate host immune defense.Principal Investigator(s)
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
March 2013 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
35/36,37/38,39/40Previous ISS Missions
The goal of the Salivary Markers study is to determine if spaceflight induced immune system dysregulation increases infection susceptibility or poses a significant health risk to crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. Immune system dysregulation has been documented during and after spaceflight, but it is not known if these changes increase infection susceptibility or pose a significant health risk to crewmembers. Inherent problems with current in-flight research are small sample sizes and the difficulty to control for the many confounding factors that impact on the immune system. As such, it is not known if changes in immunity are due to the microgravity environment per se, or to the stressors associated with landing and re-adaptation to the 1G environment. The present project will utilize a longitudinal repeated measures design to determine the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on a host of salivary antimicrobial proteins (AMPs), latent viral reactivation, antibacterial properties of saliva, and blood markers associated with innate host immune defense, whilst also considering the impact of other acute stressors such as Soyuz landing. Saliva, urine and blood samples will be collected from crewmembers selected for ISS missions and ground-based controls pre-flight (L-180 and L-60 days), at ?early?, ?mid? and ?late? phases during the approximately 5-6 month period on the ISS, and up to R+63 days after return to Earth. Saliva sampling was selected as the primary source because it is an excellent biological fluid with which to detect broad-spectrum biomarkers of front-line host immune defense and is suitable for the spaceflight environment. Attempts will also be made to establish relationships between salivary and cellular immune markers, viral reactivation and other stressors associated with spaceflight (i.e., mood state disturbances, circadian desynchronization, sleep loss/disruption, stress biomarkers) using serial data. Blood samples will be used for monocyte, NK-cell and neutrophil phenotype and functional assays. This project will help to establish if spaceflight alters innate immune function, which is important to determine if altered immunity poses a significant risk of an adverse health event among crewmembers. Moreover, these data will serve as a foundation for future countermeasure developments and technological advances to detect real time changes in immune function during subsequent lunar or Mars missions.
The data obtained from this study will serve as a foundation for future countermeasure developments and technological advances to detect real time changes in immune function during subsequent lunar or Mars Missions.Earth Applications
The data collected during this investigation may lead to a greater understanding of how the immune system is affected by different factors from stress to the environment. This data could potentially be used to help develop new treatments and preventative measures for immune dysfunctions.
Samples are required from 6 crewmembers Subjects perform two sessions preflight (one at L-180 days and another at L-60 days), three sessions in-flight (FD10 +/- 30 days, FD90 +/- 30 days and R-1) and four sessions postflight (R+0, R+18, R+33 and R+63). In-flight, urine and saliva samples are frozen in MELFI for later return. Blood will nominally be returned ambient; however, if a return vehicle is not available in the proper timeframe, a subset of the nominal samples will be collected, centrifuged and frozen in MELFI for later return. Ambient Blood samples must be returned to the PI for processing within 72 hours of collection, therefore, the blood draws must occur in conjunction with a Space-X or Soyuz flight.Operational Protocols
Operations for this experiment consist of three types of sample collections: blood, urine and saliva early (FD10), mid (FD90), and late (R-1) in the mission. Nominally, blood (five tubes, 27.5 ml total) will be placed into a sample pouch and returned ambient. If no return vehicle is available in the proper timeframe, a subset of the nominal samples (four tubes, 19 ml) will be collected, centrifuged, and then frozen in MELFI for later return. Saliva samples are collected three times daily for seven days. Two types of saliva samples are collected. Saliva samples required twice daily (A.M. and P.M.) consist of the subject soaking a piece of cotton with saliva and placing the cotton in a salivette bag. Timed saliva samples are collected by soaking a piece of cotton with saliva for two minutes and placing that sample into a pre-weighed collection vial. 24-hour urine collections require the subject to collect all urine starting with the first void of the day and continuing for a full 24-hour period. A Health Assessment Questionnaire will be collected to document conditions related to immunology; such as allergies, rashes, hypersensitivities, infections and wound healing.