Gene, Immune and Cellular Responses to Single and Combined Space Flight Conditions - B (TripleLux-B) - 04.04.18

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Long-term space missions present a number of risks for astronauts. Some effects of the space environment level appear to act at the cellular level and it is important to understand the underlying mechanisms of these effects. This project uses invertebrate hemocytes to focus on two aspects of cellular function which may have medical importance: (i) The synergy between the effects of the space radiation environment and microgravity on cellular function, and (ii) The impairment of immune functions under spaceflight conditions.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Peter-Diedrich Hansen, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Peter-Diedrich Hansen, Ph.D., Berlin Institute for Technology, Berlin, Germany

Christa Baumstark-Khan, German Aerospace Center, Köln, Germany
Bertold Hock, Ph.D., Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan, Freising, Germany
Petra Rettberg, Ph.D., DLR, Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne, Germany
Elke Rabbow, German Aerospace Center, Köln, Germany
Günter Reitz, Ph.D., Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Köln, Germany

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
ISS Increment 23/24.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Gene, Immune and Cellular Responses to Single and Combined Space Flight Conditions - B (TripleLux-B) compares the mechanisms of vertebrate and invertebrate cells at a cellular level which causes impairment of immune functions in microgravity through induction of gene activation, phagocytosis (ingestion of foreign material), and DNA repair in vertebrate and invertebrate immune cells.
  • TripleLux-B examines the immune function of Mytilus edulis, the blue mussel, hemocytes (cellular component of invertebrate blood), compared to rodent macrophages (white blood cells responsible for eating foreign material) to function in microgravity.


The Gene, Immune and Cellular Responses to Single and Combined Space Flight Conditions - B (TripleLux-B) investigation furthers the understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying the effect of radiation responses, and the impairment of vertebrate and invertebrate immune functions in microgravity, through induction of gene activation, phagocytosis, and DNA repair.

TripleLux-B compares the ability of vertebrate and invertebrate immune systems to function in microgravity. For the vertebrate portion of the study, rodent macrophages (large white blood cells) from NR8383, ATCC# CRL-2192 are tested to determine their ability to phagocytize (ingest foreign material) zymosan (an insoluble carbohydrate that serves as an analogue of bacteria) in microgravity. For the invertebrate portion of the study the ability of Mytilus edulis, blue mussel, hemocytes (cellular component of invertebrate blood) to activate phagocytosis in microgravity is examined.

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Space Applications
Conducting studies of the immune system during space flight provides knowledge and understanding of the effects of space habitation on the immune system. The data from these studies is used in assessing the cellular mechanisms underlying the aggravation of radiation responses, and impairment of immune functions, during space flight. Understanding such risks is essential in maintaining the health and performance of crewmembers during long-duration missions.  

Earth Applications
With a greater understanding of how the immune system functions in space, new countermeasures can be determined for people suffering from weakened immune systems on Earth.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Triplelux-B requires utilization of the MELFI and BioLab facilities onboard the ISS. To complete TripleLux-B operations, two sessions of approximately 75 hours must be completed. Video containing the data of the TripleLux-B activities on orbit is downloaded to Earth following investigation completion.
Prior to TripleLux-B activation the following steps must be completed by ISS crewmembers, removal of the specimen from MELFI for thawing, injection of stock culture into the culture medium, reconstitution of the stock culture in fresh medium, and measurement of the specimen viability. Crewmembers then place the specimens in two (2) BioLab Advanced Experiment Containers (AECs) for processing of approximately 75-hours. Following completion of the experiment video data collect by BioLab is to be returned to Earth for analysis.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

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Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

    Unruh E, Brungs S, Langer S, Bornemann G, Frett T, Hansen P.  Comprehensive study of the influence of altered gravity on the oxidative burst of mussel (Mytilus edulis) hemocytes. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2015 June; epub. DOI: 10.1007/s12217-015-9438-9.

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

    Rabbow E, Rettberg P, Baumstark-Khan C, Horneck G.  The SOS-LUX-LAC-FLUORO-Toxicity-test on the International Space Station (ISS). Advances in Space Research. 2003; 31(6): 1513-1524. DOI: 10.1016/S0273-1177(03)00086-3.

    Stojicic N, Walrafen D, Rabbow E, Baumstark-Khan C, Rettberg P, Weisshaar M, Horneck G.  Genotoxicity testing on the international space station: Preparatory work on the SOS-LUX test as part of the space experiment TRIPLE-LUX. Advances in Space Research. 2005; 36(9): 1710-1717. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2005.03.052.

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Related Websites

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image The Advanced Experimental Containment (AEC) hardware for the TripleLux experiments. Image courtesy of ESA.
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image NASA Image: ISS043E071069 - View of TripleLux-B Advanced Experimental Containment (AEC) hardware.
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image NASA Image: ISS043E071076 - View of TripleLux-B Advanced Experimental Containment (AEC) hardware.
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image NASA Image: ISS043E027810 - ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti installs the TripleLux investigation.
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