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Simulated microgravity, psychic stress, and immune cells in men: observations during 120-day 6 degrees HDT



Simulated microgravity, psychic stress, and immune cells in men: observations during 120-day 6 degrees HDT



Journal of Applied Physiology 90(5): 36-43



Chouker, A., M. Thiel, V. Baranov, D. Meshkov, A. Kotov, K. Peter, K. Messmer, and F. Christ. Simulated microgravity, psychic stress, and immune cells in men: observations during 120-day 6[degree] HDT. J Appl Physiol 90: 1736-1743, 2001.--Because 6[degree] head-down tilt (HDT) is an established method to mimic low gravity on earth, the aim of the present study was to determine the effects of 120-day HDT on psychic stress and peripheral blood immune cells in six healthy male volunteers. Psychological state was assessed by a current stress test, and cortisol was measured in saliva. During HDT, all volunteers developed psychic stress, and the diurnal rhythm of cortisol secretion was significantly altered. In addition, urine excretion of dopamine and norepinephrine increased. The innate part of the immune response was activated, as evidenced by the increase in the expression of B2-integrins on polymorphonuclear leukocytes and a rise in the number of circulating natural killer (NK) cell lymphocytes. The ratio of T-helper to T-cytotoxic and T-suppressor cells decreased, whereas no changes in T and B lymphocytes were observed. Plasma levels of interleukin-6 increased significantly and returned to basal levels after the end of the HDT period. Thus 6[degree] HDT appears to be a valid model to induce psychic stress and neuroendocrine-related changes in the immune system, changes that might also be encountered by astronauts and cosmonauts during long-duration space-flights. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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Accession: 009976256

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PMID: 11299263


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