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Space flight, microgravity, stress, and immune responses

Space flight, microgravity, stress, and immune responses

Advances in Space Research 23(12): 1945-1953

Exposure of animals and humans to space flight conditions has resulted in numerous alterations in immunological parameters. Decreases in lymphocyte blastogenesis, cytokine production, and natural killer cell activity have all been reported after space flight. Alterations in leukocyte subset distribution have also been reported after flight of humans and animals in space. The relative contribution of microgravity conditions and stress to the observed results has not been established. Antiorthostatic, hypokinetic, hypodynamic, suspension of rodents and chronic head-down tilt bed-rest of humans have been used to model effects of microgravity on immune responses. After use of these models, some effects of space flight on immune responses, such as decreases in cytokine function, were observed, but others, such as alterations in leukocyte subset distribution, were not observed. These results suggest that stresses that occur during space flight could combine with microgravity conditions in inducing the changes seen in immune responses after space flight. The biological/biomedical significance of space flight induced changes in immune parameters remains to be established. Grant Numbers: NCC2-859, NAG2-933.

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Accession: 047404728

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PMID: 11710376

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