Skip to main content

Free Content Adrenocortical and Immune Responses Following Short- and Long-Duration Spaceflight

Download Article:
(HTML 52.8 kb)
(PDF 734.2 kb)


Stowe RP, Sams CF, Pierson DL. Adrenocortical and immune responses following short- and long-duration spaceflight. Aviat Space Environ Med 2011; 82:627–34.

Introduction: Short-term spaceflight is associated with significant but reversible immunological alterations. However, little information exists on the effects of long-duration spaceflight on neuroimmune responses. Methods: We collected multiple pre- and postflight samples from Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers in order to compare adrenocortical and immune responses between short- (~11 d) and long-duration (~180 d) spaceflight. Results: In Shuttle crewmembers, increased stress hormone levels and altered leukocyte subsets were observed prior to launch and at landing. Additionally, typical stress-induced shifts in leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets, as well as the percentage of T-cells capable of producing intracellular IFN- γ were also decreased just before launch and immediately after landing. Plasma IL-10 levels were increased before launch but not postflight. No preflight changes occurred in ISS crewmembers, but long-duration crewmembers exhibited significantly greater spikes in both plasma and urinary cortisol at landing as compared to Shuttle crewmembers. The percentage of T-cells capable of producing intracellular IFN-γ was decreased in ISS crewmembers. Plasma IL-10 was increased postflight. Unexpectedly, stress-induced shifts in lymphocyte subpopulations were absent after long-duration flights despite significantly increased stress hormones at landing. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate significant differences in neuroimmune responses between astronauts flying on short-duration Shuttle missions versus long-duration ISS missions, and they agree with prior studies demonstrating the importance of mission duration in the magnitude of these changes.

Keywords: IFN-γ; IL-10; leukocyte trafficking; microgravity; spaceflight; stress

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2011

More about this publication?

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Partial Open Access Content
Partial Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more