Cell Culture Module - Immune Response of Human Monocytes in Microgravity (CCM-Immune Response) - 11.22.16

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

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Cell Culture Module - Immune Response of Human Monocytes in Microgravity (CCM-Immune Response) is Department of Defense Space Test Program research that uses cell culture in microgravity as a model of reduced immune function. This investigation will examine the response of human immune cells in microgravity to new chitosan-based antibacterials.
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Information Pending

The following content was provided by William P. Wiesmann, M.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
William P. Wiesmann, M.D., Hawaii Chitopure, Honolulu, HI, United States

Information Pending

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD, United States
United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Department of Defense (DoD) - Retired

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2007 - October 2007

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
This experiment model has not previously flown in the CCM, although the CCM has flown on previous missions.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • CCM-Immune Response is a Department of Defense Space Test Program research directed at understanding the effects of microgravity on living systems, concentrating on compromised immune systems. This experiment will examine the human immune response in microgravity and study effects of recently discovered natural chitosan-based antibacterials that may improve the immune response during space flight.

  • Past studies have shown that human immune cells respond differently in microgravity than on Earth; the effects of microgravity on human immune cells is similar to the human immune response following trauma. CCM-Immune Response will use a monocyte cell line (white blood cells which helps to fight infection) to examine the release of cytokines (protein which initiates the immune response in the human body) following exposure to bacterial stimuli in the presence of chitosan-based materials.

  • This investigation will examine the role of these materials to control the pro- and anti-inflammatory responses that occur following immune stimulation and that initiate the immediate response to infection and the start of wound healing. This study takes advantage of a large body of knowledge about the use of chitosan for wound repair and bleeding after trauma, research that has been sponsored by the Department of Defense over the past several years.

Previous studies indicate that space flight diminishes the body’s immune response. Cell Culture Module - Immune Response of Human Monocytes in Microgravity (CCM-Immune Response) examined the human immune response and the effect of newly discovered natural chitosan-based antibacterials to modulate and improve the immune response. By using a monocyte (white blood cell) cell line and examining the gene expression as a result of bacterial based stimuli in the absence and presence of chitosan-based materials, this experiment examined the role of these materials in modulating the inflammatory responses as well as connected wound healing activity.

Monocytes were loaded into perfused hollow fiber bioreactors and divided into four groups. The first group received injections of endotoxin, the second received injections of chitosan-arginine, the third received injections of chitosan-arginine and endotoxin, and the final control group received common media injections. Cells were fixed at two time points and their ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is responsible for the transfer of information from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), extracted for examination by gene chip analysis of the human inflammatory and wound healing subset. It is suspected that chitosan derivative injections may demonstrate a beneficial role in mitigating inflammatory responses while stimulating wound healing.

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Space Applications
Astronauts traveling to the moon or Mars in microgravity may experience injury or trauma, initiating the wound healing process. The chitosan-based experiment results will help determine a new and improved wound healing treatment for astronauts, as well as for the needs of military personnel in space and for future space travel.

Earth Applications
Where textile dressings stem the loss of blood by direct pressure, chitosan bandages actively clot the wound. These bandages are now standard issue for U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This investigation provides a test of chitosan as a cell culture matrix and more information into its bacteriological properties which will be used in further developing the use of chitosan for military and civilian applications.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Four rails with individual flowpaths and biochambers will be housed inside the CCM hardware. Two rails, with four experiment samples each, will be used for the chitosan-based wound repair study. Human monocytes will be tested alone, with endotoxin, with chitosan-arginine, and with chitosan-arginine and endotoxin together. The rails will provide growth media, automated chitosan-derivative and endotoxin delivery, environment monitors and RNA fixation capabilities.
The CCM investigation is self contained and requires crew interaction for activation, daily status checks and re-entry. Rails will contain cell lines treated with different wound repair factors. Following return to Earth, the rails will be returned to the investigator for in-depth analysis.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Preliminary results from CCM-Immune Response show that the cells were successfully cultured and returned to Earth. Monocytes without chitosan did not survive the bacterial infection, whereas, the monocytes with chitosan were protected and survived. Preliminary analysis shows the potential for a new pharmaceutical to fight large scale bacterial infections. (Evans et al. 2009)

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Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

    Kulesh DA, Anderson LH, Wilson B, Otis EJ, Elgin DM, Barker MJ, Mehm WJ, Kearney GP.  Space shuttle flight (STS-45) of L8 myoblast cells results in the isolation of nonfusing cell line variant. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. 1994; 55(4): 530-44.

    Vandenburgh HH, Chromiak JA, Shansky J, Del Tatto M, LeMaire J.  Space travel directly induces skeletal muscle atrophy. FASEB: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. 1999; 13: 1031-1038.

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Related Websites

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image NASA Image - s118e10350: Seen in this image is the hardware that houses the Cell Culture Module - Immune Response of Human Monocytes in Microgravity (CCM-Immune Response) and the Cell Culture Module - Effect of Microgravity on Wound Repair: In Vitro Model of New Blood Vessel Development (CCM-Wound Repair) experiments. The experiments were flown on STS118/13A.1 in August 2007.
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