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Changes in gravity inhibit lymphocyte locomotion through type I collagenImmunity relies on the circulation of lymphocytes through many different tissues including blood vessels, lymphatic channels, and lymphoid organs. The ability of lymphocytes to traverse the interstitium in both nonlymphoid and lymphoid tissues can be determined in vitro by assaying their capacity to locomote through Type I collagen. In an attempt to characterize potential causes of microgravity-induced immunosuppression, we investigated the effects of simulated microgravity on human lymphocyte function in vitro using a specialized rotating-wall vessel culture system developed at the Johnson Space Center. This very low shear culture system randomizes gravitational vectors and provides an in vitro approximation of microgravity. In the randomized gravity of the rotating-wall vessel culture system, peripheral blood lymphocytes did not locomote through Type I collagen, whereas static cultures supported normal movement. Although cells remained viable during the entire culture period, peripheral blood lymphocytes transferred to unit gravity (static culture) after 6 h in the rotating-wall vessel culture system were slow to recover and locomote into collagen matrix. After 72 h in the rotating-wall vessel culture system and an additional 72 h in static culture, peripheral blood lymphocytes did not recover their ability to locomote. Loss of locomotory activity in rotating-wall vessel cultures appears to be related to changes in the activation state of the lymphocytes and the expression of adhesion molecules. Culture in the rotating-wall vessel system blunted the ability of peripheral blood lymphocytes to respond to polyclonal activation with phytohemagglutinin. Locomotory response remained intact when peripheral blood lymphocytes were activated by anti-CD3 antibody and interleukin-2 prior to introduction into the rotating-wall vessel culture system. Thus, in addition to the systemic stress factors that may affect immunity, isolated lymphocytes respond to gravitational changes by ceasing locomotion through model interstitium. These in vitro investigations suggest that microgravity induces non-stress-related changes in cell function that may be critical to immunity. Preliminary analysis of locomotion in true microgravity revealed a substantial inhibition of cellular movement in Type I collagen. Thus, the rotating-wall vessel culture system provides a model for analyzing the microgravity-induced inhibition of lymphocyte locomotion and the investigation of the mechanisms related to lymphocyte movement.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Pellis, N. R.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Goodwin, T. J.
Risin, D.
McIntyre, B. W.
Pizzini, R. P.
Cooper, D.
Baker, T. L.
Spaulding, G. F.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: In vitro cellular & developmental biology. Animal
Volume: 33
Issue: 5
ISSN: 1071-2690
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits

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