Task Space Flight-Induced Reactivation of Latent Epstein-Barr Virus (Completed)
Last Published:  07/30/21 01:05:34 PM (Central)
Short Title: Epstein-Barr
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):
Shuttle- and ISS-based study investigates the magnitude of immunosuppression as a result of space flight by 1) analysis of stress hormones, 2) quantitative analysis of EBV replication using molecular and serological methods, and 3) determining virus-specific T-cell immune function.

This study demonstrated that there are global and viral-specific effects on the immune system – seen as early as 180 days prior to flight and mostly in shuttle astronauts.  The authors drew conclusions that spaceflight has an effect on latent EBV reactivation and EBV-specific immunity, even though this study did not collect or analyze any in-flight samples.  It should be noted that an effect seen at R+0 could be due to spaceflight itself, the stress of landing, a combination of the two environments or some other combination not considered here.  Results from the ongoing Immune SMO – which will compare immune status and viral results in-flight with pre- and post-flight results – will be particularly helpful to distinguish effects of spaceflight from pre- and post-flight effects.    

• Recommended future studies or gap(s):
(1. The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) study evaluated viral reactivation pre- and post-flight on both shuttle (n=45) and long duration crewmembers (n=18).  The data revealed EBV reactivation beginning as early as 180 days pre-flight which is expected given the high stress environment astronauts undergo during pre-flight training.  Viral reactivation was also elevated at R+0 and could be caused by various factors (stress, microgravity, normal viral reactivation episodes, etc.)  The results obtained from this study are consistent with current literature and do not provide enough data to close the associated gaps.  The current (Integrated Immune SMO) and planned studies (Innate Immune, Immune SMO2, Crew Microbiome, Host-Microbe) are expected to gather the data necessary to close the associated gaps.  No additional studies are recommended based on the EBV study data.

Integration/Unique Aspects: TBD
Resources (None Listed)