Task The impact of modeled microgravity and prior radiation exposure on cytomegalovirus reactivation and host immune evasion (Completed)
Last Published:  04/20/22 11:43:24 AM (Central)
Short Title: Cytomegalovirus Reactivation
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which infects 50-80% of the US population and CMV DNA is frequently found in the body fluids of astronauts during space travel indicating that the spaceflight environment can initiate active CMV infections. The effects of microgravity on CMV replication and its potential to evade the host immune system are unknown. In this study, we will utilize the rotating wall vessel (RWV) cell culture system to simulate microgravity on Earth allowing us to study the virulent and infectivity properties of CMV and how it interacts with host immune cells in the absence of gravity. The study hypothesizes that modeled microgravity will evoke changes in cellular gene expression that will lead to CMV reactivation and increase virus replication and infectivity. The researchers believe that modeled microgravity will impair the anti-CMV responses of host T-cells and NK-cells that will allow viral persistence and replication to occur. During testing both traditional and cutting-edge laboratory techniques that are typically used to assess virulence and immune cell function in the transplant patient setting allowing determination if CMV infection in the microgravity environment is likely to increase the risk of an adverse health event during exploration class spaceflight missions.

This study will provide preliminary data to determine if CMV virus displays increased infectivity when exposed to a low sheer modeled microgravity environment. Data will be evaluated and added to the evidence base capturing the responses to microorganisms grown in rotating wall vessels.