Proteomic Assessment of Fluid Shifts and Association with Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure in Twin Astronauts (Twins Study - Rana) - 09.27.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Although identical twins are genetically almost the same, differences in environment, diet and other outside factors can affect their health in different ways. The Twins Study is an integrated compilation of ten studies at multiple research centers that examines the effects of space travel on twin astronauts, one of whom stays on the International Space Station for one year while his twin remains on Earth. Proteomic Assessment of Fluid Shifts and Association with Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure in Twin Astronauts (Twins Study – Rana) explores the protein and gene changes associated with the headward shift of fluid that occurs while in space, which is related to symptoms of visual impairment and intracranial pressure (VIIP) reported by some crew members; it also looks at how these changes relate to the various genomic changes noted by other Twins Study investigators.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Brinda Rana, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Brinda Rana, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Douglas Ebert, Ph.D., KBRwyle, Houston, TX, United States
Stuart M. C. Lee, Ph.D., KBRwyle, Houston, TX, United States
Brandon R. Macias, Ph.D., KBRwyle, San Diego, CA, United States
Jamila Siamwala, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, CA, United States
Hemal Patel, Ph.D., University of California, La Jolla, CA, United States
Jan Schilling, Ph.D., University of California, La Jolla, CA, United States

Developer(s)
NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned
43/44

Previous Missions
None

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Twins Study provides the extraordinary opportunity to control variables of individual genetic differences, susceptibilities and lifestyle factors, making differential effects observed between the twins spaceflight-specific.
  • The Proteomic Assessment of Fluid Shifts and Association with Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure in Twin Astronauts (Twins Study – Rana) investigation studies the effects of long-duration spaceflight on VIIP symptoms.
  • This study also examines relationships between gene expression, metabolomics profiles, biomarkers in blood and urine, and arterial structure and function using the space-flown and ground-based identical twins.

Description

NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute have instituted a program to compare the effects of spaceflight accumulated over one year and observe changes in the genetic makeup between twin brothers. This project initiates a pilot demonstration focusing on the use of integrated human analyses to better understand the biomolecular responses to the physical, physiological, and environmental stressors associated with spaceflight. The project emphasis is on the collection of biological specimens and psychological testing from one twin in orbit on the ISS and the collection of corresponding samples and data from his twin on the ground. Sample collection and data analysis occurs before, during and after the one-year mission.
 
The goal of this study is to explore proteomic and epigenetic biomarkers to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying spaceflight-induced visual impairment/intracranial pressure (VIIP) symptoms and generate data on candidate biomarkers for the development of early detection methods. The ground twin is enrolled in the same physiological experiments proposed under the “Fluids Shifts” study of the flight twin astronaut. This portion of the Twins Study conducts: (i) longitudinal proteomic assessments of urine and plasma to identify molecular pathways related to fluid regulation that are perturbed due to long-term spaceflight, and (ii) targeted DNA methylation studies on genes encoding the perturbed peptides and genes regulating these peptides in order to identify candidate epigenetic biomarkers that play a role in the VIIP syndrome.
 
The Proteomic Assessment of Fluid Shifts and Association with Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure in Twin Astronauts (Twins Study – Rana) study is the first to employ a male monozygous twin pair to systematically determine the impact of fluid distribution in microgravity, integrating a comprehensive set of structural and functional measures with proteomic and epigenetic biomarkers.

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Applications

Space Applications
Weightlessness leads to a shift of body fluids toward the head. The resulting elevation in fluid pressure in crew members’ heads is believed to cause changes to their eyes and vision during long-duration spaceflight. This investigation compares protein and genomic changes between twin astronauts, one in space and one on the ground, to determine the molecular pathways involved in this fluid redistribution. Results are expected to improve the understanding of how humans adapt to spaceflight and could lead to better countermeasures to protect crew health.

Earth Applications
Environmental stress and radiation can change the expression of genes and proteins, which may affect cognitive function, metabolism, gut flora, the immune system, and more. This investigation studies the molecular changes associated with the headward shift of fluid that occurs during spaceflight, which is believed to be the cause of vision changes and other symptoms of increased fluid pressure in the head reported by crew members on long-duration space missions. Results have implications for research on traumatic brain injury, hydrocephalus and other ailments related to increased intracranial pressure, as well as research on glaucoma and other diseases of the visual system.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols


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Decadal Survey Recommendations

CategoryReference
Animal and Human Biology AH16
Behavioral and Mental Health B3

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

Main Twins Study

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Imagery