Navigation Links
Shuttle mice to boost disease research
Date:10/29/2010

GALVESTON, Texas When the space shuttle Discovery lifts off on its final flight Nov. 2, its six astronauts will be joined by 16 rodent passengers on a historic mission of their own.

Riding in special self-contained modules that automatically supply them with food and water, the mice will be part of a long-term NASA effort aimed at understanding why spaceflight makes humans more vulnerable to infection by viruses and bacteria.

The agency has studied the phenomenon aboard its space shuttles for more than 25 years, collecting data from laboratory animals and astronauts themselves. The mouse experiment a collaboration between teams at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. will be the final immunology investigation planned for the shuttle program.

"Since the Apollo missions, we have had evidence that astronauts have increased susceptibility to infections during flight and immediately post-flight they seem more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses and urinary tract infections, and viruses like Epstein-Barr, which infect most people and then remain dormant, can reactivate under the stress of spaceflight," said Dr. Roberto Garofalo, a professor at UTMB Health and principal investigator for the project. "We want to discover what triggers this increased susceptibility to infection, with the goal both of protecting the astronauts themselves and people with more vulnerable immune systems here on Earth, such as the elderly and young children."

The mice aboard Discovery will be in orbit for 11 days, during which time shuttle astronauts will perform daily checks on their health and well-being. Within two hours of the shuttle's return to Earth, eight of the animals will be infected with respiratory syncytial virus a pathogen that infects almost all human children by age two and ordinarily causes a relatively harmless cold-like upper respiratory disease. In some children, however, the infection spreads to the lungs, where the inflammation it generates causes coughing, wheezing and extreme difficulty in breathing.

Another group of mice kept in nearly identical conditions on the ground will also be exposed to the virus. Garofalo's team will conduct genetic and protein studies of the lung and nasal tissues of both sets of mice, evaluating lung inflammation, viral replication and other key factors related to RSV infection in mice.

"We have substantial experience using mice to study immune response to RSV infection, and that will enable us to look at all the aspects of the immune responses of these mice as well as the pathological manifestations of the disease, looking at ways in which the space environment affects this respiratory infection," Garofalo said.

Understanding how spaceflight impairs the immune system and finding ways to make sure that infection doesn't threaten the health of space travelers are expected to become increasingly important, as NASA plans human expeditions beyond the relative safety of Earth orbit to Mars, for example, or the asteroids. The developing commercial spaceflight industry, which hopes to launch large numbers of private citizens into orbit in the near future, also has a stake in ensuring that its passengers stay safe and healthy.

Despite the shuttle program's end, Garofalo said, immune system experiments in space may well continue on the International Space Station.

"The space environment incorporates many factors that we know affect the immune system microgravity, radiation, even different nutritional standards all acting in a relatively short period of time," Garofalo said. "The space station provides a unique environment for generating answers to fundamental questions about the human immune system. Those answers will benefit people here on Earth, and there's been a lot of interest in pursuing them."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. UCLA researchers discover protein that shuttles RNA into cell mitochondria
2. Global Nutrition Firm Takes Dose of SonicWALL to Boost Network Health
3. Aspirin May Boost Breast Cancer Survival
4. A midday nap markedly boosts the brains learning capacity
5. CustomerCentric Selling Helps BCC Software Dramatically Boost Sales Performance and Produce Record Results
6. Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
7. Fitness Boosts Brain Power in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
8. Fitness May Boost Kids Grades
9. Ritalin Boosts Learning by Increasing Brain Plasticity, According to UCSF Research
10. Free Brain IQ Quiz, Activities for Home “Brain-Boosting” and Seminar Offered from LearningRX Denver during National Brain Awareness Month
11. Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... States to promise successful results with IVF and with egg freezing, today announced ... the most patient-centric and highest quality fertility care, Spring Fertility offers both fertility ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Stockholm/San Jose (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... the art of self-love. Every day, LELO fans reach out via email, social media ... recurring question keeps upcoming up: “Is the way I masturbate ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Every year ... most heartfelt wishes of these children. The wishes provide hope and motivation ... and CEO of Make-A-Wish Mississippi, Brent Wilson said, “In 2016, the organization will ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Oregon (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) is slated to host the 2016 National SACA ... for all current SACA national officers and chapter officers to come together and ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... agency’s ongoing community enrichment program serving families of greater Dubuque, IA. The current ... duty, reserve and honorably discharged veterans. Donations to Veteran’s Freedom Center may now ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... 4, 2016 Research ... "Global Multiple Myeloma Market and Competitive Landscape ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ... Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, provides comprehensive insights ... epidemiology, Multiple Myeloma market valuations and forecast, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... May 4, 2016 ... the  "Global Acute lymphocytic Leukemia Market and ... their offering.       (Logo: ... Lymphocytic Leukemia Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ... Leukemia pipeline products, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia epidemiology, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Axiogenesis has acquired a major investment from Sino-German High-Tech Fund to further expand product development, strengthen ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160503/362921 ... ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: