Increased core body temperature in astronauts during long-duration space missions.
ABSTRACT: Humans' core body temperature (CBT) is strictly controlled within a narrow range. Various studies dealt with the impact of physical activity, clothing, and environmental factors on CBT regulation under terrestrial conditions. However, the effects of weightlessness on human thermoregulation are not well understood. Specifically, studies, investigating the effects of long-duration spaceflight on CBT at rest and during exercise are clearly lacking. We here show that during exercise CBT rises higher and faster in space than on Earth. Moreover, we observed for the first time a sustained increased astronauts' CBT also under resting conditions. This increase of about 1?°C developed gradually over 2.5 months and was associated with augmented concentrations of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, a key anti-inflammatory protein. Since even minor increases in CBT can impair physical and cognitive performance, both findings have a considerable impact on astronauts' health and well-being during future long-term spaceflights. Moreover, our findings also pinpoint crucial physiological challenges for spacefaring civilizations, and raise questions about the assumption of a thermoregulatory set point in humans, and our evolutionary ability to adapt to climate changes on Earth.
Project description:Adaptation to the space environment can sometimes pose physiological problems to International Space Station (ISS) astronauts after their return to earth. Therefore, it is important to develop healthcare technologies for astronauts. In this study, we examined the feasibility of using hair follicles, a readily obtained sample, to assess gene expression changes in response to spaceflight adaptation. In order to investigate the gene expression changes in human hair follicles during spaceflight, hair follicles of 10 astronauts were analyzed by microarray and real time qPCR analyses. We found that spaceflight alters human hair follicle gene expression. The degree of changes in gene expression was found to vary among individuals. In some astronauts, genes related to hair growth such as FGF18, ANGPTL7 and COMP were upregulated during flight, suggesting that spaceflight inhibits cell proliferation in hair follicles.
Project description:Human spaceflight has been fascinating man for centuries, representing the intangible need to explore the unknown, challenge new frontiers, advance technology, and push scientific boundaries further. A key area of importance is cardiovascular deconditioning, that is, the collection of hemodynamic changes-from blood volume shift and reduction to altered cardiac function-induced by sustained presence in microgravity. A thorough grasp of the 0G adjustment point per se is important from a physiological viewpoint and fundamental for astronauts' safety and physical capability on long spaceflights. However, hemodynamic details of cardiovascular deconditioning are incomplete, inconsistent, and poorly measured to date; thus a computational approach can be quite valuable. We present a validated 1D-0D multiscale model to study the cardiovascular response to long-term 0G spaceflight in comparison to the 1G supine reference condition. Cardiac work, oxygen consumption, and contractility indexes, as well as central mean and pulse pressures were reduced, augmenting the cardiac deconditioning scenario. Exercise tolerance of a spaceflight traveler was found to be comparable to an untrained person with a sedentary lifestyle. At the capillary-venous level significant waveform alterations were observed which can modify the regular perfusion and average nutrient supply at the cellular level. The present study suggests special attention should be paid to future long spaceflights which demand prompt physical capacity at the time of restoration of partial gravity (e.g., Moon/Mars landing). Since spaceflight deconditioning has features similar to accelerated aging understanding deconditioning mechanisms in microgravity are also relevant to the understanding of aging physiology on the Earth.
Project description:Astronauts are exposed to a unique combination of stressors during spaceflight, which leads to alterations in their physiology and potentially increases their susceptibility to disease, including infectious diseases. To evaluate the potential impact of the spaceflight environment on the regulation of molecular pathways mediating cellular stress responses, we performed a first-of-its-kind pilot study to assess spaceflight-related gene-expression changes in the whole blood of astronauts. Using an array comprised of 234 well-characterized stress-response genes, we profiled transcriptomic changes in six astronauts (four men and two women) from blood preserved before and immediately following the spaceflight. Differentially regulated transcripts included those important for DNA repair, oxidative stress, and protein folding/degradation, including HSP90AB1, HSP27, GPX1, XRCC1, BAG-1, HHR23A, FAP48, and C-FOS. No gender-specific differences or relationship to number of missions flown was observed. This study provides a first assessment of transcriptomic changes occurring in the whole blood of astronauts in response to spaceflight.
Project description:Exposure to microgravity causes alterations in multiple physiological systems, potentially impacting the ability of astronauts to perform critical mission tasks. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of spaceflight on functional task performance and to identify the key physiological factors contributing to their deficits.A test battery comprised of seven functional tests and 15 physiological measures was used to investigate the sensorimotor, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular adaptations to spaceflight. Astronauts were tested before and after 6-month spaceflights. Subjects were also tested before and after 70 d of 6° head-down bed rest, a spaceflight analog, to examine the role of axial body unloading on the spaceflight results. These subjects included control and exercise groups to examine the effects of exercise during bed rest.Spaceflight subjects showed the greatest decrement in performance during functional tasks that required the greatest demand for dynamic control of postural equilibrium which was paralleled by similar decrements in sensorimotor tests that assessed postural and dynamic gait control. Other changes included reduced lower limb muscle performance and increased HR to maintain blood pressure. Exercise performed during bed rest prevented detrimental change in neuromuscular and cardiovascular function; however, both bed rest groups experienced functional and balance deficits similar to spaceflight subjects.Bed rest data indicate that body support unloading experienced during spaceflight contributes to postflight postural control dysfunction. Further, the bed rest results in the exercise group of subjects confirm that resistance and aerobic exercises performed during spaceflight can play an integral role in maintaining neuromuscular and cardiovascular functions, which can help in reducing decrements in functional performance. These results indicate that a countermeasure to mitigate postflight postural control dysfunction is required to maintain functional performance.
Project description:As multiple spacefaring nations contemplate extended manned missions to Mars and the Moon, health risks could be elevated as travel goes beyond the Earth's protective magnetosphere into the more intense deep space radiation environment. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, accidents and all other causes of death differ in (1) astronauts who never flew orbital missions in space, (2) astronauts who flew only in low Earth orbit (LEO), and (3) Apollo lunar astronauts, the only humans to have traveled beyond Earth's magnetosphere. Results show there were no differences in CVD mortality rate between non-flight (9%) and LEO (11%) astronauts. However, the CVD mortality rate among Apollo lunar astronauts (43%) was 4-5 times higher than in non-flight and LEO astronauts. To test a possible mechanistic basis for these findings, a secondary purpose was to determine the long-term effects of simulated weightlessness and space-relevant total-body irradiation on vascular responsiveness in mice. The results demonstrate that space-relevant irradiation induces a sustained vascular endothelial cell dysfunction. Such impairment is known to lead to occlusive artery disease, and may be an important risk factor for CVD among astronauts exposed to deep space radiation.
Project description:Sleep deprivation and fatigue are common subjective complaints among astronauts. Previous studies of sleep and hypnotic drug use in space have been limited to post-flight subjective survey data or in-flight objective data collection from a small number of crew members. We aimed to characterise representative sleep patterns of astronauts on both short-duration and long-duration spaceflight missions.For this observational study, we recruited crew members assigned to Space Transportation System shuttle flights with in-flight experiments between July 12, 2001, and July 21, 2011, or assigned to International Space Station (ISS) expeditions between Sept 18, 2006, and March 16, 2011. We assessed sleep-wake timing objectively via wrist actigraphy, and subjective sleep characteristics and hypnotic drug use via daily logs, in-flight and during Earth-based data-collection intervals: for 2 weeks scheduled about 3 months before launch, 11 days before launch until launch day, and for 7 days upon return to Earth.We collected data from 64 astronauts on 80 space shuttle missions (26 flights, 1063 in-flight days) and 21 astronauts on 13 ISS missions (3248 in-flight days), with ground-based data from all astronauts (4014 days). Crew members attempted and obtained significantly less sleep per night as estimated by actigraphy during space shuttle missions (7·35 h [SD 0·47] attempted, 5·96 h [0·56] obtained), in the 11 days before spaceflight (7·35 h [0·51], 6·04 h [0·72]), and about 3 months before spaceflight (7·40 h [0·59], 6·29 h [0·67]) compared with the first week post-mission (8·01 h [0·78], 6·74 h [0·91]; p<0·0001 for both measures). Crew members on ISS missions obtained significantly less sleep during spaceflight (6·09 h [0·67]), in the 11 days before spaceflight (5·86 h [0·94]), and during the 2-week interval scheduled about 3 months before spaceflight (6·41 h [SD 0·65]) compared with in the first week post-mission (6·95 h [1·04]; p<0·0001). 61 (78%) of 78 shuttle-mission crew members reported taking a dose of sleep-promoting drug on 500 (52%) of 963 nights; 12 (75%) of 16 ISS crew members reported using sleep-promoting drugs.Sleep deficiency in astronauts was prevalent not only during space shuttle and ISS missions, but also throughout a 3 month preflight training interval. Despite chronic sleep curtailment, use of sleep-promoting drugs was pervasive during spaceflight. Because chronic sleep loss leads to performance decrements, our findings emphasise the need for development of effective countermeasures to promote sleep.The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Project description:Long exposure to the microgravity will lead to muscle atrophy and bone loss. Treadmill exercise could mitigate the musculoskeletal decline. But muscle atrophy remains inevitable. The constraint loading applied on astronauts could affect the muscle force and its atrophy severity. However, the quantitative correlation between constraint loading mode and muscle forces remains unclear. This study aimed to characterize the influence of constraint loading mode on the lower limb muscle forces in weightless treadmill exercise. The muscle forces in the full gait cycle were calculated with the inverse dynamic model of human musculoskeletal system. The calculated muscle forces at gravity were validated with the EMG data. Muscle forces increased at weightlessness compared with those at the earth's gravity. The increasing percentage from high to low is as follows: biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, soleus, vastus, and rectus femoris, which was in agreement with the muscle atrophy observed in astronauts. The constraint loading mode had an impact on the muscle forces in treadmill exercise and thus could be manipulated to enhance the effect of the muscle training in spaceflight. The findings could provide biomechanical basis for the optimization of treadmill constraint system and training program and improve the countermeasure efficiency in spaceflight.
Project description:It is a challenge for the human body to maintain stable blood pressure while standing. The body's failure to do so can lead to dizziness or even fainting. For decades it has been postulated that the vestibular organ can prevent a drop in pressure during a position change--supposedly mediated by reflexes to the cardiovascular system. We show--for the first time--a significant correlation between decreased functionality of the vestibular otolith system and a decrease in the mean arterial pressure when a person stands up. Until now, no experiments on Earth could selectively suppress both otolith systems; astronauts returning from space are a unique group of subjects in this regard. Their otolith systems are being temporarily disturbed and at the same time they often suffer from blood pressure instability. In our study, we observed the functioning of both the otolith and the cardiovascular system of the astronauts before and after spaceflight. Our finding indicates that an intact otolith system plays an important role in preventing blood pressure instability during orthostatic challenges. Our finding not only has important implications for human space exploration; they may also improve the treatment of unstable blood pressure here on Earth.
Project description:A round-trip human mission to Mars is anticipated to last roughly three years. Spaceflight conditions are known to cause loss of bone mineral density (BMD) in astronauts, increasing bone fracture risk. There is an urgent need to understand BMD progression as a function of spaceflight time to minimize associated health implications and ensure mission success. Here we introduce a nonlinear mathematical model of BMD loss for candidate human missions to Mars: (i) Opposition class trajectory (400-600 days), and (ii) Conjunction class trajectory (1000-1200 days). Using femoral neck BMD data (N = 69) from astronauts after 132-day and 228-day spaceflight and the World Health Organization's fracture risk recommendation, we predicted post-mission risk and associated osteopathology. Our model predicts 62% opposition class astronauts and 100% conjunction class astronauts will develop osteopenia, with 33% being at risk for osteoporosis. This model can help in implementing countermeasure strategies and inform space agencies' choice of crew candidates.
Project description:Reactivation of latent herpes viruses was measured in 23 astronauts (18 male and 5 female) before, during, and after long-duration (up to 180 days) spaceflight onboard the international space station . Twenty age-matched and sex-matched healthy ground-based subjects were included as a control group. Blood, urine, and saliva samples were collected before, during, and after spaceflight. Saliva was analyzed for Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes simplex virus type 1. Urine was analyzed for cytomegalovirus. One astronaut did not shed any targeted virus in samples collected during the three mission phases. Shedding of Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, and cytomegalovirus was detected in 8 of the 23 astronauts. These viruses reactivated independently of each other. Reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, and cytomegalovirus increased in frequency, duration, and amplitude (viral copy numbers) when compared to short duration (10 to 16 days) space shuttle missions. No evidence of reactivation of herpes simplex virus type 1, herpes simplex virus type 2, or human herpes virus 6 was found. The mean diurnal trajectory of salivary cortisol changed significantly during flight as compared to before flight (P?=?0.010). There was no statistically significant difference in levels of plasma cortisol or dehydoepiandosterone concentrations among time points before, during, and after flight for these international space station crew members, although observed cortisol levels were lower at the mid and late-flight time points. The data confirm that astronauts undertaking long-duration spaceflight experience both increased latent viral reactivation and changes in diurnal trajectory of salivary cortisol concentrations.