Inhaled dust particles can cause inflammation in the airways of humans on Earth as well as in space. To study the effects of the inhaled dust particles in space, investigators will examine the amount of the gaseous Nitric Oxide, which indicates airway inflammation, exhaled by crewmembers.Principal Investigator(s)
Aerocrine, Solna, , Sweden
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, , Sweden
European Space Agency (ESA)Sponsoring Organization
Information PendingResearch Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
April 2006 - October 2008Expeditions Assigned
13,14,15,17Previous ISS Missions
This experiment has also been known as ESANO-1.
Recent research has demonstrated that an elevation of expired Nitric Oxide is an early and accurate sign of airway inflammation especially in asthma but also after occupational dust inhalation. This experiment will utilize improved techniques for analysis of Nitric Oxide in expired air. This will be used to study physiological reactions in humans in microgravity.
Since dust never settles in microgravity, it is likely that there is an increased exposure of the human airways to inhaled particles in such an environment. The crewmembers will perform a simple inhalation-exhalation procedure on a bi-weekly basis during their stay on the ISS.
Elevated levels of expired Nitric Oxide compared to preflight levels would indicate airway inflammation. Data will be stored on a credit-card size memory unit. This experiment, which started during Expedition 12, is planned to be carried out over multiple Expedition Crews requiring eight subjects.
The Platon device, developed for spaceflight, has a dual use, as it is now also used to improve the treatment of asthma by allowing monitoring of patients at home. (Description provided by ESA: Astrolab Mission)
Information PendingEarth Applications
Information PendingOperational Protocols
During orbital space flight, and in future space exploration missions, crew-members are exposed to an increased risk of airway inflammation due to inhalation of free-floating dust and particles, and inhalation of Moon dust. Analysis of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) is a simple method to monitor inflamed airway (Karlsson et al. 2009). In preparation for possible future monitoring of lung health during long-term space missions, the effects of altered gravity per se on FENO was studied.
It was hypothesized that changes in gravity can influence FENO by altering lung gas exchange capacity and uptake of nitric oxide (NO) in the alveoli (tiny grape-like sacs in the lungs where the gas to blood exchange occurs). For this study, five healthy astronauts performed control FENO measurements on ground before space flight and then approximately every 6 weeks during their 23- to 28-wk-long stays onboard the ISS during 2005-2008. A parallel ground based study with 10 subjects was completed for hypergravity (acceleration force greater than normal gravity) in a human centrifuge.
Results show that during microgravity, FENO was significantly lower and fell to nearly half that of preflight value. In the centrifuge experiments, FENO was significantly elevated during exposure to 2, and 3 times the normal gravity. The findings of decreased exhaled NO in space and increased exhaled and estimated alveolar NO values in hypergravity suggest that gravity-induced changes in alveolar-to-lung capillary gas transfer greatly affect FENO, but there was no clear trend over time during the stays on ISS or after landing. According to current models of NO transport, NO originates from conductive airways and alveoli, each source having a different impact on the exhaled amount. Additionally NO is taken up by blood in the alveolar compartment. Thus, a change in FENO may come from an alteration of the overall balance between production and blood recapture as well as by a change in the airway production. The principal observation was that exhaled NO is gravity dependent: its values were lowered in microgravity and elevated in seated humans during hypergravity (Karlsson et al. 2009).
Karlsson LL, Kerckx Y, Gustafsson LE, Hemmingsson TE, Linnarsson D. Microgravity Decreases and Hypergravity Increases Exhaled Nitric Oxide. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009: 1431-1437. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91081.2008.