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The effect of hypogravity and hypergravity on cells of the immune systemThis article reviews the gravity effects discovered in T lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system. The strong depression of mitogenic activation first observed in an experiment conducted in Spacelab 1 in 1983 triggered several other investigations in space and on the ground in the clinostat and in the centrifuge in the past 10 years. During this period, great progress was made in our knowledge of the complex mechanism of T cell activation as well as the technology to analyze the lymphokines produced during stimulation. Nevertheless, several aspects of the steps leading to activation are not yet clear. Studies in hypogravity and hypergravity may contribute to answering some of the questions. A recent investigation in the U.S. Spacelab SLS-1, based on a new technology in which leukocytes are attached to microcarrier beads, showed that the strong inhibition of activation in microgravity is due to a malfunction of monocytes acting as accessory cells. In fact, interleukin-1 production is nearly nil in resuspended monocytes, whereas T cell activation is doubled in attached cells. In hypergravity, but not at 1g, concanavalin A bound to erythrocytes activates B lymphocytes in addition to T cells. The activation of Jurkat cells is also severely impaired in space. These recent results have raised new questions that have to be answered in experiments to be conducted in space and on Earth in this decade. The experimental system, based on the mitogenic activation of T lymphocytes and accessory cells attached to microcarriers, offers an optimum model for studying basic biological mechanisms of the cell to assess the immunological fitness of humans in space and to test the feasibility of bioprocesses in space as well as on Earth.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Cogoli, A.
(Space Biology Group, ETH Technopark Zurich, Switzerland)
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of leukocyte biology
Volume: 54
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0741-5400
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Regulatory Physiology
Non-NASA Center
NASA Program Flight
Sounding Rocket
NASA Discipline Number 00-00
Review, Tutorial
Flight Experiment
short duration
STS Shuttle Project

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