Chromosomal Aberrations in Blood Lymphocytes of Astronauts-1 (Chromosome-1) studies space radiation on humans. The expected results will provide a better knowledge of the genetic risk of astronauts in space and can help to optimize radiation shielding.Principal Investigator(s)
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
European Space Agency (ESA)Sponsoring Organization
Information PendingResearch Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
December 2001 - October 2005Expeditions Assigned
4,7,8,10,11Previous ISS Missions
An earlier version of this experiment flew on the Space Shuttle and the Russian Space Station Mir. This investigation has been performed on ISS Expeditions 6-11.
Crewmembers are exposed to radiation when they leave the protection of Earth's atmosphere. Ionizing radiation in particular can damage chromosomes, causing mutations such as chromosome aberrations. To assess the genetic impact of this radiation, blood is drawn before and immediately after flight by venous puncture. The blood is then cultured and the lymphocytes are stimulated to undergo mitosis (the process of cell division). In the first mitosis, at about 48 hours of incubation, the process is stopped and the chromosomes are prepared and stained using three different methods of microscopic analysis to assess all types of aberrations induced by ionizing radiations. These methods are:
From this study scientists may be able to better assess risk factors for genetic damage in space and help develop new methods for protecting crewmembers. Understanding and reducing the risk of radiation is important for safe long duration travel in space, including stays on the Moon and travel to Mars.Earth Applications
The knowledge gained from this investigation will give scientist's insight into the exact chromosome from which particular mutations arise.
Chromosome-1 does not have any inflight requirements. Samples will be taken before and after flight.Operational Protocols
The researchers will take venous blood samples (10 to 15 ml from the crew participants shortly before and after flight.
According to NASA estimates, the uncertainties in radiation risk assessment for deep-space mission are unacceptably high. By far, the greatest fraction of such uncertainty is from our poor knowledge of human biological response to space radiation. Durante et al. (2003) conducted a long-term study in which chromosomal changes in peripheral blood lymphocytes from 33 cosmonauts involved in both long and short-duration space missions on Mir and the ISS were measured over a period of 11 years. Changes in blood lymphocyte chromosomes are the most widely used indicators of radiation exposure, and a direct comparison of risk estimates with biological measurements is possible because chromosomal alterations in peripheral blood lymphocytes have been validated as biomarkers of cancer risk (Durante, 2005).
So far, research results showed the only significant change was in one type of chromosomal damage known as dicentrics (2 partial chromosomes joined at broken ends resulting in a chromosomal structure having 2 distinct pinched areas called centromeres) in the pooled lymphocyte sample from 15 crewmembers returning from their first long-term flight. The number of these postflight dicentrics decline with time after the first space flight as expected due to cell turnover, but also it appears that subsequent long-term missions lead to less chromosomal alterations than the first flight. It is also reported that the frequency of complex-type exchanges between chromosomes for postflight was very low for astronauts involved in space missions lasting from 2 to 6 months in low Earth orbit (Durante et al. 2004). Other studies, focusing on chromosome 1, 2, and 5 in the lymphocytes of astronauts, did not detect any changes or find correlation between space flight duration, the number of flights, and extra-vehicular activity (EVA) duration with chromosome damage. These results scrutinize the concept that radiation effects in space are simply additive, and further study is needed to determine the true mechanism for this adaptation (Horstmann et al., 2005; Greco et al., 2003).
Scientists will be able to better assess risk factors for genetic damage from space exposure from these findings, and the large uncertainties can be reduced by improving our basic understanding of the underlying biological processes and their disruption caused by space radiation. It is unlikely that the radiation risk problem for space exploration will be solved by a simple countermeasure, such as spacecraft shielding or protective drugs against ionizing radiation. Rather, the risk will be understood and controlled through more basic research in the field of cancer induction by charged particles (Durante and Cucinotta, 2006).
George KA, Rhone J, Chappell LJ, Cucinotta FA. Cytogenetic biodosimetry using the blood lymphocytes of astronauts. Acta Astronautica. 2012 May; epub. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.05.001.
Durante M, Ando K, Furusawa Y, Cucinotta FA, Obe G, George KA. Complex chromosomal rearrangements induced in vivo by heavy ions. Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 2004; 104: 240-244. DOI: 10.1159/000077497.
Horstmann M, Durante M, Johannes C, Pieper R, Obe G. Space radiation does not induce a significant increase of intrachromosomal exchanges in astronaut lymphocytes. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics. 2005; 44: 219-224. DOI: 10.1007/s00411-005-0017-0.
Durante M, Greco O, Gialanella G, Grossi G, Pugliese M, Scampoli P, Snigiryova GP, Obe G. Biological dosimetry in Russian and Italian astronauts. Advances in Space Research. 2003; 31(6): 1495-1503. DOI: 10.1016/S0273-1177(03)00087-5.
Durante M, Snigiryova GP, Akaeva E, Bogomazova A, Druzhinin S, Fedorenko BS, Greco O, Novitskaya NN, Rubanovich A, Shevchenko V, von Recklinghausen U, Obe G. Chromosome abberation dosimetry in cosmonauts after single or multiple space flights. Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 2003; 103: 40-46. DOI: 10.1159/000076288.
Durante M. Biomarkers of Space Radiation Risk. Radiation Research. 2005; 164(4 Pt 2): 467-473. PMID: 16187751.
Durante M, Horstmann M, Obe G. Distribution of breakpoints and fragment sizes in human chromosome 5 after heavy-ion bombardment. International Journal of Radiation Biology. 2004; 80(6): 437-443.
Obe G, Reitz G, Facius R, Johannes I, Johannes C. Manned missions to Mars and chromosome damage. International Journal of Radiation Biology. 1999; 75(4): 429-433. PMID: 10331847.
Durante M, Johannes C, Horstmann M, Chudoba I, Obe G. Chromosome intrachanges and interchanges detected by multicolor banding in lymphocytes: searching for clastogen signatures in the human genome. Radiation Research. 2004; 161: 540-548.
Durante M, Horstmann M, Johannes C, Obe G. Chromosomal intrachanges induced by swift iron ions. Advances in Space Research. 2005; 35(2): 276-279. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2004.12.031.
George KA, Wu H, Willingham V, Cucinotta FA. The effect of space radiation on the induction of chromosome damage. Physica Medica: European Journal of Medical Physics. 2001; 17(Suppl 1): 222-225. PMID: 11776981.
Obe G, Johannes I, Johannes C, Reitz G, Hallman K, Facius R. Chromosomal aberrations in blood lymphocytes of astronauts after long-term space flights. International Journal of Radiation Biology. 1997; 72(6): 727-734.
Wu H, George KA, Willingham V, Cucinotta FA. Comparison of chromosome aberration frequencies in pre- and post-flight astronaut lymphocytes irradiated in vitro with gamma rays. Physica Medica: European Journal of Medical Physics. 2001; 17(Suppl 1): 229-231. PMID: 11776983.
Goedecke W, Obe G, Bergau L. Cytogenetic investigations in flight personnel. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 1999; 86(4): 275-278. PMID: 11543396.
Fedorenko BS, Druzhinin S, Yudaeva L, Akatov YA, Snigiryova GP, Novitskaya NN, Shevchenko V, Rubanovich A, Petrov VP. Cytogenetic studies of blood lymphocytes from cosmonauts after long-term space flights on Mir station. Advances in Space Research. 2001; 27(2): 355-359. PMID: 11642297.