Task Spaceflight-Induced Changes in Microbial Virulence and the Impact to the Host Immune Response
Last Published:  11/23/20 11:55:12 AM (Central)
Short Title: Host-Pathogen Interactions
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Active - Currently funded and in progress
Procurement Mechanism(s):
Directed study to evaluate host-pathogen interactions in analog and flight testing. The goal of the study is to define changes to microbes and immune cells during spaceflight to determine the impact to crew health. This data will leverage previous microbiology operational and research data as well as immunology research data to provide a better understanding of impacts of microbial changes to the host and provide information to determine the need for countermeasure evaluation.

Aim 1: Characterize the effect of spaceflight analogue culture on microbial pathogenesis related stress responses and in vitro host-pathogen interactions. Analysis will include microbial stress responses as well as colonization and viability following pathogen challenge of three-dimensional (3-D) tissue co-culture models containing immune cells.

Aim 2: Characterize the effect of spaceflight analogue culture on the virulence potential of pathogenic microorganisms. Changes in virulence will be assessed using a mouse model of infection. To reduce and refine the use of animals for virulence studies, the selection of microorganisms for Aim 2 will be based on a combination of microbial responses from Aim 1 and previously reported spaceflight and spaceflight analogue experimental data of similar microorganisms.

Aim 3: Profile the synergistic relationship between spaceflight analogue-altered bacterial virulence characteristics and spaceflight analogue-altered immune cell function. Alterations in immune cell responses will be evaluated when human primary immune cells are challenged with pathogens in normal and spaceflight analogue growth conditions.

Aim 4: Profile antimicrobial efficacy for astronauts participating in spaceflight via challenge with spaceflight analogue cultured bacterial pathogens. Primary immune cells from astronauts will be profiled before, during, and post-flight to identify alterations in host response to pathogens in normal and spaceflight analogue conditions.