Biological Effects of Space Radiation and Microgravity on Mammalian Cells (NeuroRad) - 07.05.18

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ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Biological Effects of Space Radiation and Microgravity on Mammalian Cells (NeuroRad) studies the effects of space radiation on the human neuroblastoma cell (nerve cell containing a tumor) line in microgravity.
Science Results for Everyone
Space travel is rough on human cells.  Studying human nerve cells with tumors, and changes in their genetic materials, show that short- and long-term cultures of these cells on the space station grow faster and generate more reactive oxygen species, along with increased heat shock proteins and antioxidant enzymes than those cultured on Earth, meaning that toxic stress occurs in the microgravity cells.  Results could advance new treatments and preventative measures for the effects of radiation on humans in space and for related diseases and aging on Earth.

The following content was provided by Hideyuki J. Majima, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Hideyuki J. Majima, Ph.D., Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan

Noriaki Ishioka, Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency, Tsukuba City, Japan
Hiroko P. Indo, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan
Hiromi Suzuki, Japan Space Forum, Chiyoda-ku Ootemachi, Japan
Toru Shimazu, Japan Space Forum, Tokyo, Japan
Sachiko Yano, JAXA Space Environment Utilization Center, Ibaraki, Japan
Fumiaki Tanigaki, JAXA, Ibaraki, Japan
Daisuke Masuda, Japan Manned Space System , Tsuchiura, Japan
Shigeaki Suenaga, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan
Misato Oki, Kagoshima University, Japan
Kenichiro Matsumoto, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan
Kazunobu Fujitaka, NIRS, Japan
Masaki Kameyama, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan
Yoichiro Iwashita, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan
Kazuhiko Saigo, Kagoshima University, Japan
Ikuo Nakanishi, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2010 - September 2010

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
NeuroRad was first operated on ISS Expedition 19/20.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NeuroRad will investigate the biological effects of space radiation on mammalian nerve cells using SK-N-SH (human neuroblastoma cell line).

  • NeuroRad will evaluate the risk factors of long-term space flight by investigating the ability to recover from radiation damage aquired in microgravity. NeuroRad will also evaluate the effects of radiation accumulation as a result of long-term space flight missions.

  • NeuroRad will focus on changes in the mitochondria-related gene expression, since the mitochondria is well known for having a crucial role in apotosis (programmed cell death).

  • After recovery, the effects of radiation in microgravity will be comprehensively analyzed using the following techniques: nuclear DNA microaray, western blotting, and mutation assays.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
Radiation effects are critical for biological creatures. The data collected during this investigation may lead a greater understanding of how the radiation defense system is affected by different factors from space radiation and microgravity environment. The data could be applied to develop new treatments and preventative measures for the effects of radiation, and to further investigate the effects of human long-duration stays in space.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

The space radiation dose aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was monitored using the on-board Passive Dosimeter for Life Science Experiments in Space (PADLES) hardware. The monitored data was estimated at 0.48۪.08 mSv/day. Gene expression analysis has been undertaken, and mitochondrial impairment also has been examined for the “fixed” cells.

ISS short- and long-term cultured cells grew faster than the ground control cells. And, in both cases, no differences were observed between microgravity and 1G.

ISS cultured cells generated more intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased the expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) and antioxidant enzymes compared with the control cells. The results suggest that oxidative stress occurs in cells in low-Earth orbit.

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Results Publications

    Indo HP, Davidson M, Yen H, Suenaga S, Tomita K, Nishii T, Higuchi M, Koga K, Ozawa T, Majima HJ.  Evidence of ROS generation by mitochondria in cells with impaired electron transport chain and mitochondrial DNA damage. Mitochondrion. 2007 February; 7(1-2): 106-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.mito.2006.11.026. PMID: 17307400.

    Majima HJ, Indo HP, Tomita K, Iwashita Y, Suzuki H, Masuda D, Shimazu T, Tanigaki F, Umemura S, Yano S, Fukui K, Higashibata A, Yamazaki TQ, Kameyama M, Suenaga S, Sato T, Yen H, Gusev OA, Okuda T, Matsui H, Ozawa T, Ishioka N.  Bio-Assessment of RISK in Long-Term Manned Space Exploration-Cell Death Factors in Space Radiation and/or Microgravity: A Review-. Biological Sciences in Space. 2009; 23(2): 43-53. DOI: 10.2187/bss.23.43.

    Majima HJ, Indo HP, Suenaga S, Matsui H, Yen H, Ozawa T.  Mitochondria as Possible Pharmaceutical Targets for the Effects of Vitamin E and its Homologues in Oxidative Stress-Related Diseases. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2011 July 1; 17(21): 2190-2195. DOI: 10.2174/138161211796957490. PMID: 21774784.

    Indo HP, Inanami O, Koumura T, Suenaga S, Yen H, Kakinuma S, Matsumoto K, Nakanishi I, St Clair W, St Clair DK, Matsui H, Cornette R, Gusev OA, Okuda T, Nakagawa Y, Ozawa T, Majima HJ.  Roles of mitochondria-generated reactive oxygen species on X-ray-induced apoptosis in a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, HLE. Free Radical Research. 2012 August; 46(8): 1029-1043. DOI: 10.3109/10715762.2012.698012. PMID: 22656864.

    Indo HP, Nakanishi I, Ohkubo K, Yen H, Nyui M, Manda S, Matsumoto K, Fukuhara K, Anzai K, Ikota N, Matsui H, Minamiyama Y, Nakajima A, Ichikawa H, Fukuzumi S, Ozawa T, Mukai C, Majima HJ.  Comparison of in vivo and in vitro antioxidative parameters for eleven food factors. RSC Advances. 2013; 3(14): 4535. DOI: 10.1039/c3ra22686g.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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