Functional Immune Alterations, Latent Herpesvirus Reactivation, Physiological Stress and Clinical Incidence Onboard the International Space Station (Functional Immune) - 03.01.17
The human immune system is altered during spaceflight, which may increase the likelihood of adverse health events in crew members. The Functional Immune Alterations, Latent Herpesvirus Reactivation, Physiological Stress and Clinical Incidence Onboard the International Space Station (Functional Immune) investigation analyzes blood and saliva samples to determine the changes taking place in crew members’ immune systems during flight. The changes in the immune system are also compared with crew members’ self-reported health information. Results are expected to provide new insight into the possible health risks of long-duration space travel, including future missions to Mars, asteroids, or other distant destinations. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: Functional Immune
Brian E. Crucian, Ph.D., NASA/JSC, Houston, TX, United States
Honglu Wu, Ph.D., Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Richard J. Simpson, Ph.D., Department of Health and Human Performance, Houston, TX, United States
Kanokporn Rithidech, Ph.D., State University of New York Stony Brook School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY, United States
Duane L. Pierson, Ph.D., Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Satish K. Mehta, Ph.D., Enterprise Advisory Services Incorporated, Houston, TX, United States
Raymond P. Stowe, Ph.D., Microgen Laboratories, La Marque, TX, United States
Alexander Chouker, M.D., University of Munich, Munich, Germany
Robert J. Ploutz-Snyder, Ph.D., University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Hawley E. Kunz, Ph.D., KBRwyle, Houston, TX, United States
NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA Research Office - Human Research Program (NASA Research-HRP)
Scientific Discovery, Earth Benefits, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2016 - February 2018
- The Functional Immune Alterations, Latent Herpes Virus Reactivation, Physiological Stress and Clinical Incidence Onboard the International Space Station (Functional Immune) investigation builds on previous research completed during the Integrated Immune Study.
- This study analyzes ambient, live blood samples, saliva samples, urine samples, and skin swabs.
- Previously uninvestigated areas of immunity and latent viral reactivation are examined, as well as other interdisciplinary physiological interactions.
- Data is collected on the in-flight incidence of adverse clinical events and medication usage, to correlate with immune alterations.
- This study aims to completely characterize many aspects of immune-regulation as they occur during flight.
- Information obtained from this investigation can be used to assess the need for immune countermeasures to maintain and protect crew health on deep space missions.
- To examine the effect of spaceflight on previously uninvestigated areas of innate and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity can be described as nonspecific and immediate cellular responses. Adaptive immunity is that portion of the immune system that is composed of a specific response to a particular pathogen. Therefore, adaptive responses take several days for the proper specific immune cells to develop and complete their function.
- To determine the effect of spaceflight on various soluble markers of in-vivo immune physiological status, including plasma, salivary and urinary markers of stress, inflammation, cytokine profiles, and latent viral reactivation.
- To correlate, when possible, findings of immune status with astronaut environmental, human, and stress factors such as sleep/wake data, crew work schedules, surveys of in-flight symptomology and/or medication use (voluntary), vehicle docking/undocking, EVA activity, etc. This correlative work should help to inform NASA’s scientific and operational communities about the influence of spaceflight specific environmental factors on immunity, factors which may potentially be modulated in accordance with countermeasures development.
Previous research has shown crew members experience alterations in their immune systems during spaceflight, but this investigation is the first to examine unique immune-related changes, such as the distribution of white blood cells, particular aspects of innate immunity, and reactivation of latent viruses. Biological changes are also compared with crew members’ self-reported information on stress, sleep disruption and other factors that are known to impact the immune system. By understanding spaceflight-related immune system challenges, countermeasures that can keep the crew healthy on future missions can be devised, if they are needed.
The immune system works unnoticed to protect the body, but alterations in immunity may be linked to the onset of disease and development of symptoms. This study provides a unique view of the subtle changes in the immune system that may occur before symptoms present, such as those associated with stress or microgravity. Understanding these subtle changes may help scientists pinpoint the onset of illness, and suggest monitoring strategies, or treatments, that can boost the immune system and prevent full-blown infections and diseases.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
Information Pending^ back to top
Information Pending^ back to top