Assessment of Humoral Immune Function During Long-Duration Space Flight

Objectives

The experimental hypothesis is that space flight will cause a decrease in humoral immune function similar to that observed with the cell-mediated immune system. The objectives of this experiment were: (1) to determine the effects of long-duration space flight on baseline levels of immunoglobulins in serum and assess the ability to produce appropriate antibodies in response to a specific antigenic challenge, (2) to assess secretory immune function by measuring salivary IgA and lysozyme levels, and (3) to evaluate the responsiveness of B-cells to polyclonal activators immediately after space flight.

Shuttle-Mir Missions
NASA-2 - NASA-4, NASA-6, NASA-7

Approach
This experiment investigated the idea that long-duration space flight could adversely effect the antibody response to a pneumococcal vaccine. It was conducted on crewmembers from NASA-2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 as a part of the phase 1B program. This vaccine consisted of 23-valent pneumococcal antigens. An inflight vaccination with specific antigens were used to test the ability to mount an antibody response in vivo. Blood and saliva was collected from the test subjects before flight, before immunization during flight, 7 days, 11 days, 14 days, 17 days, 21 days, and 28 days after the immunization. Blood samples collected prior to immunization provided baseline antibody concentrations. Antibody concentrations for each pneumococcal antigen was measured by using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The degree of the response will be compared to those obtained from ground-based control group of age- and sex-matched volunteer subjects.

Results
No results from PI. Not published yet.

Earth Benefits
Improved understanding of the humoral immune response will provide new insight into the maintenance of human immune function in health and disease.

Publications
None available at this time.

Principal Investigators
Clarence Sams, Ph.D.
NASA/Johnson Space Center

Irina Rykoua, M.D.
Institute of Biomedical Problems

Co-Investigators
Richard T. Meehan, M.D.
Patsy Giclas, M.D.
Andre Lesnyak, Ph.D.

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Page last updated: 07/16/1999