Last Published:  07/30/21 01:05:31 PM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open
Present state of knowledge: Some functional immune changes that are seen during spaceflight occur early in the mission and resolve later in flight. As example of this phenomenon, some upstream measures of T cell function that occur within the first 24 hours of cell activation (early blastogenesis) are almost universally depressed during the early adaptation phase of spaceflight, but resolve after 6 months on orbit. However, other functional immune changes, such as downstream measures of T cell function including protein formation and secretion, remain depressed for the duration of a 6-month spaceflight. Concurrent with these immune observations, the reactivation of latent VZV, considered ‘atypical’ and medically significant, persists for the duration of a 6-month spaceflight. Since an exploration mission to Mars will last several years, it is important to understand what immune changes would persist beyond 6 months of flight, and which, if any, immune parameters would worsen with this longer-duration exposure to the spaceflight environment. Very little data exist at present for missions beyond 6 months.
Research approach: A robust set of immune measures that have been validated during several previous studies on ISS crewmembers have been incorporated into the spaceflight Standard Measures project and will be collected from crewmembers assigned to missions lasting 12 months.  
Target for Closure
Determine the effect of prolonged spaceflight (> 6 months) on human immunity
Risk Risk of Adverse Health Event Due to Altered Immune Response
You are here! Gap IM-104: Evaluate immune dysfunction on missions greater than six months.

Multi-Disciplinary Research Plans

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