Viral Reactivation


It was hypothesized that stressors associated with space flight will alter the host-parasite relationship in crewmembers inhabiting the Mir station during extended stays. This will increase both the incidence and the duration of herpesvirus reactivation and shedding. Therefore the objectives of this experiment were: (1) to collect saliva and serum samples from crewmembers at appropriate intervals before, during, and after the 90 to 180-day missions on Mir, (2) to detect reactivation and shedding of herpesviruses in saliva specimens collected from occupants of Mir, (3) to monitor specific antibody titers in the serum samples, (4) to quantify the frequency of viral shedding during flight and compare it with ground-based shedding values as determined before and after flight, and (5) to determine whether crewmembers shed the same herpesvirus(es) during flight as before and after flight.

Shuttle-Mir Missions
Mir-18, Mir 19

Viral Reactivation investigated the effects of microgravity on the shedding of herpesviruses in the saliva of Mir-18 and 19 crewmembers. Saliva samples were collected from the three Mir-18 crewmembers during a two month preflight period. However, the investigation was canceled from Mir-18 and manifested on Mir 19. Two subjects from Mir 19 participated in the investigation. Saliva samples were collected and examined for the presence of herpesviruses using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology. DNA was extracted from saliva samples by the RNAzol method. Oligodeoxynucleotide primers capable of detecting DNA from herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1), herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV2), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein-Barr virus were used during PCR to identify which virus was reactivated.

No results from PI. Not published yet.

Earth Benefits
Efficient diagnosis of viral infections is extremely important. This research has resulted in advanced methods of virus detection using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology. Benefits of this technology include rapid identification of herpes virus infections, facilitating treatment to stop the spread of infection.

None available at this time.

Principal Investigators
Duane L. Pierson, Ph.D.
NASA/Johnson Space Center

Irina Konstantinova, M.D.
Institute of Biomedical Problems

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Page last updated: 07/16/1999