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Life Sciences in Space Research

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February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Anja Heselich, Johannes L Frieß, Sylvia Ritter, Naja P Benz, Paul G Layer, Christiane Thielemann
It is well known that ionizing radiation causes adverse effects on various mammalian tissues. However, there is little information on the biological effects of heavy ion radiation on the heart. In order to fill this gap, we systematically examined DNA-damage induction and repair, as well as proliferation and apoptosis in avian cardiomyocyte cultures irradiated with heavy ions such as titanium and iron, relevant for manned space-flight, and carbon ions, as used for radiotherapy. Further, and to our knowledge for the first time, we analyzed the effect of heavy ion radiation on the electrophysiology of primary cardiomyocytes derived from chicken embryos using the non-invasive microelectrode array (MEA) technology...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Bernard M Rabin, Kirsty L Carrihill-Knoll, Marshall G Miller, Barbara Shukitt-Hale
Exposure to particles of high energy and charge (HZE particles) can produce decrements in cognitive performance. A series of experiments exposing rats to different HZE particles was run to evaluate whether the performance decrement was dependent on the age of the subject at the time of irradiation. Fischer 344 rats that were 2-, 11- and 15/16-months of age were exposed to16 O,48 Ti, or4 He particles at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven National Laboratory. As previously observed following exposure to56 Fe particles, exposure to the higher LET48 Ti particles produced a disruption of cognitive performance at a lower dose in the older subjects compared to the dose needed to disrupt performance in the younger subjects...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Tobias Niederwieser, Patrick Kociolek, David Klaus
An Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is necessary for humans to survive in the hostile environment of space. As future missions move beyond Earth orbit for extended durations, reclaiming human metabolic waste streams for recycled use becomes increasingly important. Historically, these functions have been accomplished using a variety of physical and chemical processes with limited recycling capabilities. In contrast, biological systems can also be incorporated into a spacecraft to essentially mimic the balance of photosynthesis and respiration that occurs in Earth's ecosystem, along with increasing the reuse of biomass throughout the food chain...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Olga A Smirnova, Francis A Cucinotta
A recently developed biologically motivated dynamical model of the assessment of the excess relative risk (ERR) for radiogenic leukemia among acutely/continuously irradiated humans (Smirnova, 2015, 2017) is applied to estimate the ERR for radiogenic leukemia among astronauts engaged in long-term interplanetary space missions. Numerous scenarios of space radiation exposure during space missions are used in the modeling studies. The dependence of the ERR for leukemia among astronauts on several mission parameters including the dose equivalent rates of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and large solar particle events (SPEs), the number of large SPEs, the time interval between SPEs, mission duration, the degree of astronaut's additional shielding during SPEs, the degree of their additional 12-hour's daily shielding, as well as the total mission dose equivalent, is examined...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Claire Ward, Trisha A Rettig, Savannah Hlavacek, Bailey A Bye, Michael J Pecaut, Stephen K Chapes
Spaceflight has been shown to suppress the adaptive immune response, altering the distribution and function of lymphocyte populations. B lymphocytes express highly specific and highly diversified receptors, known as immunoglobulins (Ig), that directly bind and neutralize pathogens. Ig diversity is achieved through the enzymatic splicing of gene segments within the genomic DNA of each B cell in a host. The collection of Ig specificities within a host, or Ig repertoire, has been increasingly characterized in both basic research and clinical settings using high-throughput sequencing technology (HTS)...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Paul Childress, Alexander Brinker, Cynthia-May S Gong, Jonathan Harris, David J Olivos, Jeffrey D Rytlewski, David C Scofield, Sungshin Y Choi, Yasaman Shirazi-Fard, Todd O McKinley, Tien-Min G Chu, Carolynn L Conley, Nabarun Chakraborty, Rasha Hammamieh, Melissa A Kacena
Segmental bone defects (SBDs) secondary to trauma invariably result in a prolonged recovery with an extended period of limited weight bearing on the affected limb. Soldiers sustaining blast injuries and civilians sustaining high energy trauma typify such a clinical scenario. These patients frequently sustain composite injuries with SBDs in concert with extensive soft tissue damage. For soft tissue injury resolution and skeletal reconstruction a patient may experience limited weight bearing for upwards of 6 months...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
V V Velichko, A A Tikhomirov, S A Ushakova
If soil-like substrate (SLS) is to be used in human life support systems with a high degree of mass closure, the rate of its gas exchange as a compartment for mineralization of plant biomass should be understood. The purpose of this study was to compare variations in CO2 gas exchange of vegetable plant communities grown on the soil-like substrate using a number of plant age groups, which determined the so-called conveyor interval. Two experimental plant communities were grown as plant conveyors with different conveyor intervals...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
V Pereda-Loth, X Franceries, A S Afonso, A Ayala, B Eche, D Ginibrière, G Gauquelin-Koch, M Bardiès, L Lacoste-Collin, M Courtade-Saïdi
Astronauts are exposed to microgravity and chronic irradiation but experimental conditions combining these two factors are difficult to reproduce on earth. We have created an experimental device able to combine chronic irradiation and altered gravity that may be used for cell cultures or plant models in a ground based facility. Irradiation was provided by thorium nitrate powder, conditioned so as to constitute a sealed source that could be placed in an incubator. Cell plates or plant seedlings could be placed in direct contact with the source or at various distances above it...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
R Schroeder
Biocompatible materials that can encapsulate large amounts of nutrients while protecting them from degrading environmental influences are highly desired for extended manned spaceflight. In this study, alkaline-degradable microgels based on poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PVCL) were prepared and analysed with their regard to stabilise retinol which acts as a model vitamin (vitamin A1 ). It was investigated whether the secondary crosslinking of the particles with a polyphenol can prevent the isomerisation of biologically active all-trans retinol to biologically inactive cis-trans retinol...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
E A Radugina, E A C Almeida, E Blaber, V A Poplinskaya, Y V Markitantova, E N Grigoryan
Mechanical unloading in microgravity during spaceflight is known to cause muscular atrophy, changes in muscle fiber composition, gene expression, and reduction in regenerative muscle growth. Although some limited data exists for long-term effects of microgravity in human muscle, these processes have mostly been studied in rodents for short periods of time. Here we report on how long-term (30-day long) mechanical unloading in microgravity affects murine muscles of the femoral Quadriceps group. To conduct these studies we used muscle tissue from 6 microgravity mice, in comparison to habitat (7), and vivarium (14) ground control mice from the NASA Biospecimen Sharing Program conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, during the Russian Bion M1 biosatellite mission in 2013...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Yuri Griko, Matthew D Regan
Animal research aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station has provided vital information on the physiological, cellular, and molecular effects of spaceflight. The relevance of this information to human spaceflight is enhanced when it is coupled with information gleaned from human-based research. As NASA and other space agencies initiate plans for human exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), incorporating animal research into these missions is vitally important to understanding the biological impacts of deep space...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
A S Krivobok, Yu A Berkovich, V A Shcherbakova, N A Chuvilskaya
One way to cut consumables for space plant growth facilities (PGF) with artificial soil in the form of fibrous ion-exchange resin substrate (FIERS) is on-board regeneration of the used medium. After crop harvest the procedure includes removal of the roots from the fibrous media with preservation of the exchanger properties and capillary structure. One type of FIERS, namely BIONA-V3ۛ, has been used in Russian prototypes of space conveyors. We describe a two-stage treatment of BIONA-V3ۛ including primary microwave heating of the used FIERS until (90 ± 5) °C in alkali-peroxide solution during 3...
February 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Proma Basu, Colin P S Kruse, Darron R Luesse, Sarah E Wyatt
The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) hardware has been used to house many biology experiments on both the Space Transport System (STS, commonly known as the space shuttle) and the International Space Station (ISS). However, microscopic examination of Arabidopsis seedlings by Johnson et al. (2015) indicated the hardware itself may affect cell morphology. The experiment herein was designed to assess the effects of the BRIC-Petri Dish Fixation Units (BRIC-PDFU) hardware on the transcriptome and proteome of Arabidopsis seedlings...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
Maria Elena Villani, Silvia Massa, Vanni Lopresto, Rosanna Pinto, Anna Maria Salzano, Andrea Scaloni, Eugenio Benvenuto, Angiola Desiderio
Static magnetic fields created by superconducting magnets have been proposed as an effective solution to protect spacecrafts and planetary stations from cosmic radiations. This shield can deflect high-energy particles exerting injurious effects on living organisms, including plants. In fact, plant systems are becoming increasingly interesting for space adaptation studies, being useful not only as food source but also as sink of bioactive molecules in future bioregenerative life-support systems (BLSS). However, the application of protective magnetic shields would generate inside space habitats residual magnetic fields, of the order of few hundreds milli Tesla, whose effect on plant systems is poorly known...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
M Vuolo, G Baiocco, S Barbieri, L Bocchini, M Giraudo, T Gheysens, C Lobascio, A Ottolenghi
We present a design study for a wearable radiation-shielding spacesuit, designed to protect astronauts' most radiosensitive organs. The suit could be used in an emergency, to perform necessary interventions outside a radiation shelter in the space habitat in case of a Solar Proton Event (SPE). A wearable shielding system of the kind we propose has the potential to prevent the onset of acute radiation effects in this scenario. In this work, selection of materials for the spacesuit elements is performed based on the results of dedicated GRAS/Geant4 1-dimensional Monte Carlo simulations, and after a trade-off analysis between shielding performance and availability of resources in the space habitat...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
Kanglun Yu, Alison H Doherty, Paula C Genik, Sara E Gookin, Danielle M Roteliuk, Samantha J Wojda, Zhi-Sheng Jiang, Meghan E McGee-Lawrence, Michael M Weil, Seth W Donahue
During spaceflight, crewmembers are subjected to biomechanical and biological challenges including microgravity and radiation. In the skeleton, spaceflight leads to bone loss, increasing the risk of fracture. Studies utilizing hindlimb suspension (HLS) as a ground-based model of spaceflight often neglect the concomitant effects of radiation exposure, and even when radiation is accounted for, it is often delivered at a high-dose rate over a very short period of time, which does not faithfully mimic spaceflight conditions...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
Jillian H Bradley, Rachel Stein, Brad Randolph, Emily Molina, Jennifer P Arnold, Randal K Gregg
Immune impairment mediated by microgravity threatens the success of space exploration requiring long-duration spaceflight. The cells of most concern, T lymphocytes, coordinate the host response against microbial and cancerous challenges leading to elimination and long-term protection. T cells are activated upon recognition of specific microbial peptides bound on the surface of antigen presenting cells, such as dendritic cells (DC). Subsequently, this engagement results in T cell proliferation and differentiation into effector T cells driven by autocrine interleukin-2 (IL-2) and other cytokines...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
Norman J Kleiman, Fiona A Stewart, Eric J Hall
World events, including the threat of radiological terrorism and the fear of nuclear accidents, have highlighted an urgent need to develop medical countermeasures to prevent or reduce radiation injury. Similarly, plans for manned spaceflight to a near-Earth asteroid or journey to Mars raise serious concerns about long-term effects of space radiation on human health and the availability of suitable therapeutic interventions. At the same time, the need to protect normal tissue from the deleterious effects of radiotherapy has driven considerable research into the design of effective radioprotectors...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
Lisa M Steinberg, Rachel E Kronyak, Christopher H House
Future long-term manned space missions will require effective recycling of water and nutrients as part of a life support system. Biological waste treatment is less energy intensive than physicochemical treatment methods, yet anaerobic methanogenic waste treatment has been largely avoided due to slow treatment rates and safety issues concerning methane production. However, methane is generated during atmosphere regeneration on the ISS. Here we propose waste treatment via anaerobic digestion followed by methanotrophic growth of Methylococcus capsulatus to produce a protein- and lipid-rich biomass that can be directly consumed, or used to produce other high-protein food sources such as fish...
November 2017: Life Sciences in Space Research
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