Heart Effect Analysis Research Team conducting FLy Investigations and Experiments in Spaceflight (NanoRacks-Heart Flies) - 03.19.14

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The HEART Flies experiment will fly up to 16 groups of 25-30 Drosophila (Heart Flies) to the International Space Station, but remaining in the transport vehicle as a sortie.  In all, it will experience approximately 30 days on-orbit. The Drosophila will be housed in a NanoRacks 1.5 CU (10x10x15 cm) NanoRacks Module and will be self-sufficient, requiring no astronaut interaction during the flight. The samples will be retrieved post-flight and analyzed using a system for analyzing fly heart function developed at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. We hypothesis that spaceflight will result in significant deficits in cardiac function including decreases in contractility, increases in cardiac arrhythmias, and alterations in cardiac morphology such as myofibrillar dysfunction.  

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This content was provided by Peter H Lee, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom NanoRacks Module-26

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Peter H Lee, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory (NL)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2014 - September 2014

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The detrimental effects of spaceflight on the cardiovascular system are well known. It is believed that these effects may lead to clinically significant risks to astronauts on long duration space missions as well as to the success of these missions themselves. Current studies are limited primarily to human studies and rodent experiments. However, these model systems have significant limitations that may be addressed by using the well-established Drosophila model. Drosophila have previously been successfully launched into space and a ground-based Drosophila model for cardiac disease and function has been developed.

    • The Drosophila model has yet to be used for studying the effects of spaceflight on the cardiovascular system. The development of such a model would be a potentially significant advancement in the study and understanding of how spaceflight affects the cardiovascular system, and ultimately lead to countermeasures to prevent them.

    •  After the completion of the experiment, the results will be presented at national scientific meetings such as the American Heart Association, the Genetics Society of America, FASEB, and others. Results will be submitted for publication in appropriate high profile, peer-reviewed scientific journals, such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, PLoS Biology, and Circulation Research. These experiments are of utmost scientific importance, as they will be the first to establish the Drosophila as a model for studying cardiac disease and function in spaceflight and it addresses one of the areas of highest research priority for the future of long duration human spaceflight.

    Information Pending

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    Space Applications

    Development of counter measures relative to long-duration spaceflight.  As well as, validation of the Heart Fly model for use in microgravity studies.  Although the cardiovascular effects of spaceflight have been extensively investigated, particularly in astronauts in both short- and long-duration spaceflights, studying the precise mechanisms of these effects with adequate controlled studies has been severely limited by the very nature of conducting human studies on astronauts. However, although similar physiological changes have been reported utilizing ground-based models compared to actual spaceflight, the effects of actual microgravity on the body, system, and tissues cannot be replicated, nor can the effect of increased radiation exposure on the cardiovascular system. 

    Earth Applications

    Methodologies for the treatment of cardiovascular. 

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    Operational Requirements
    Information Pending

    Operational Protocols
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    Results/More Information
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    Related Websites

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