NanoRacks-CellBox-Primary Human Macrophages in Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-CellBox-PRIME) - 07.15.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone

NanoRacks-CellBox-Primary Human Macrophages in Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-CellBox-PRIME) investigates microgravity-associated long-term alterations in primary human macrophages, which are responsible for attacking, and killing bacteria and other foreign and pathogenic intruders in the human body. The immune system is one of the most affected systems of the human body during space flight and cells of the immune system are exceptionally sensitive to microgravity.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending



The following content was provided by Oliver Ullrich, Ph.D., M.D, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom BioRack Experiment Containers

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Oliver Ullrich, Ph.D., M.D, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Svantje Tauber, Ph.D., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Liliana Layer, M.S., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Naomi Shepherd, B.Med., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Swantje Hauschild, M.S., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Katrin Paulsen, M.D., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Cora Thiel, Ph.D., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Developer(s)
    Astrium Space Transportation, Friedrichshafen, , Germany

    NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory (NL)

    Research Benefits
    Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration, Earth Benefits

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2014 - September 2014

    Expeditions Assigned
    39/40

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

    ^ back to top



    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • During space flight, the immune system is one of the most affected systems of the human body.

    • It is necessary to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which microgravity influences and changes the immune cell function during space flight.

    • NanoRacks-CellBox-Primary Human Macrophages in Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-CellBox-PRIME) investigates microgravity-associated long-term alterations in primary human macrophages, the most important effector cells of the immune system, which are responsible for attacking, and killing bacteria and other foreign and pathogenic intruders in the human body.
       

    Description

    The immune system is one of the most affected systems of the human body during space flight and cells of the immune system are exceptionally sensitive to microgravity. Thus, serious concerns arise, whether space flight associated weakening of the immune system ultimately precludes the expansion of human presence beyond the Earth's orbit. For human space flight, it is an urgent need to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which altered gravity influences and changes the immune cell function. NanoRacks-CellBox-Primary Human Macrophages in Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-CellBox-PRIME) investigates the microgravity-associated long-term alterations in primary human macrophages, the most important effector cells of the immune system, which are responsible for attacking, and killing bacteria and other foreign and pathogenic intruders in the human body. Surface molecules are analyzed, which are required for recognition of bacteria and cell-cell communication, and the cytoskeletal architecture is investigated after several days in microgravity. Additionally, secretion products (such as cytokines) and metabolites in the cell culture supernatant are analyzed.

     

    Primary human macrophages are attached to polycarbonates-slides on ground and implemented in the hardware, where they are cultured with the respective culture medium. After the incubation phase in space (in microgravity and in 1 g), cells are automatically fixed with 1% paraformaldehyde. After sample return, surface-molecules and components of the cytoskeleton are analyzed and quantified by immunocytochemistry / confocal microscopy. In-flight microgravity and 1g group are compared, in parallel with appropriate ground controls. Parameters to be analyzed are: Actin, vimentin, tubulin, MHCI, MHC-II, CD86, CD36, CD11a, CD11b, CD18 and ICAM-1.  With this experiment, it is possible to assess the influence of microgravity on key molecules of migration, presentation of antigens, cell-cell-communication and activation of the specific immune system. A disturbed cytoskeleton, reduced surface receptors for the activation of T lymphocytes and for antigen presenting molecules could represent a dysfunctional macrophage phenotype, which could be no longer capable of migrating or recognizing and attacking pathogens and to activate the specific immune system.

    ^ back to top



    Applications

    Space Applications

    The immune system is one of the most affected systems of the human body. Because of these obvious and severe effects on the human immune system, serious concerns arise as to whether space flight-associated weakening of the immune system ultimately precludes the expansion of human presence beyond the Earth's orbit. For this reason there is an urgent need to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which altered gravity influences and changes the immune cell function. When considering the future of human space flight, we need to know which cellular and molecular mechanisms will provide therapeutic or preventive targets. Their discovery provides the background for strategies to sustain the immune system of astronauts during long-term space missions.

    Earth Applications

    Gravity has been a constant force throughout evolutionary history on Earth. Thus, it is one of the fundamental biological questions, if and how life on Earth requires and responds to gravity at the functional cellular and molecular level. We try to understand how the architecture and function of human cells is related to the gravitational force and therefore adapted to live on Earth.

    ^ back to top



    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    BioRack Experiment Containers are returned at 4°C.

    Operational Protocols

    A crewmember installs BioRack Experiment Containers no later than docking +2 days. After automatic fixation, the containers must remain in the BioRack for a minimum of 12 days prior to the crewmember removing and storing at 4°C for return.

    ^ back to top



    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

    ^ back to top



    Related Websites
    NanoRacks

    ^ back to top



    Imagery

    image
    Human macrophages, the most important effector cells of the immune system, which are sent to space to evaluate the effect of weightlessness in the current NanoRacks-CellBox-PRIME. The cells are stained for parts of the cytoskeleton (green), cytoplasm (red) and the cell nucleus (blue).  After flight such specific stainings for more than 15 features of the cells shall allow to detect effects that weightlessness causes in these cells. Image courtesy of Oliver Ullrich.

    + View Larger Image