Gap Degen - 7: Are there synergistic effects from other spaceflight factors (e.g. altered gravity (µ-gravity), stress, altered immune function, altered circadian rhythms, or other) that modify space radiation-induced degenerative diseases in a clinically significant manner?
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:30 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Space Radiation (SR)
Status: Open
Description

Initial State of Gap:

Exposure to ionizing radiation is associated with an increased risk for development of heart disease, stroke, and other neurovascular and degenerative tissue diseases such as cataracts later in life or well after flight. It is currently unknown whether there are significant synergistic effects from other secondary spaceflight factors (altered gravity (μ-gravity), stress, immune status, bone loss, etc.) that may alter morbidity and mortality estimates for these late effects resulting from space radiation exposure. Activities to-date have included retrospective data mining and flight and ground studies to identify the role of the risk factors outlined above on cardiovascular health.

Approach:

Exposure to the space radiation environment is considered the primary stressor in the development of cardiovascular disease in astronauts. The pathophysiology of space radiation-induced cardiovascular disease will be established and characterized through ground-based research at the NSRL as described by the research plan under Degen Gaps 1-5. Surveillance of related study results on ISS, for example those sponsored by the NASA Space Biology Program or Internationals, along with ground and flight studies by SRPE with integration with other HRP Elements, will support the establishment of a research evidence base on the potential secondary spaceflight stressors related to radiation-induced degenerative tissue diseases. These data, including data gathered from astronaut monitoring to define “space normal,” can then be used to evaluate the impact of combined spaceflight stressors on cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and other degenerative disease endpoints. Of highest interest are spaceflight-specific stressors that cause clinically significant cardiovascular and cerebrovascular decrements, in a statistically significant manner, persisting for greater than 1 year post-flight and that share common pathways/mechanisms to those observed following space radiation damage. These potential synergies will be further assessed through ground-based, peer-reviewed research using appropriate cell and animal models and validated biomarker panels with extended duration GCR simulations representative of an high-LET environment. 

The primary focus of this gap is on radiation-induced cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.  Research on impact of combined stressors on other degenerative tissue diseases will be conducted as evidence emerges.

Target for Closure
  • Identification of potential synergies of combined spaceflight stressors on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and other relevant degenerative diseases from space radiation exposure.
  • Quantification of the impact of clinically significant modifiers of risk.
  • Identification of common pathways and mechanisms of damage.
  • Updates to the risk models as appropriate.    
Mappings
Risk Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Other Degenerative Tissue Effects From Radiation Exposure and Secondary Spaceflight Stressors
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