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Immune Status, Latent Viral Reactivation, and Stress During Long-Duration Head-Down Bed Rest

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Crucian BE, Stowe RP, Mehta SK, Yetman DL, Leal MJ, Quiriarte HD, Pierson DL, Sams CF. Immune status, latent viral reactivation, and stress during long-duration head-down bed rest. Aviat Space Environ Med 2009; 80(5, Suppl.):A37–44.

Introduction: As logistical access for space research becomes more limited and NASA prepares for exploration-class missions, ground-based spaceflight analogs will increase in importance for biomedical countermeasures development. A monitoring of immune parameters was performed during the NASA Flight Analogs Project bed rest study (without countermeasure); to establish ‘control' data against which future studies (with countermeasure) will be evaluated. Some of the countermeasures planned to be evaluated in future studies may impact immune function. Methods: The immune assessment consisted of: leukocyte subset distribution, early T cell activation, intracellular cytokine profiles, latent viral reactivation, virus specific T cell levels and function, stress hormone levels, and a behavioral assessment using stress questionnaires. Results: In general, subjects did not display altered peripheral leukocyte subsets, constitutive immune activation, altered T cell function, or significant latent viral reactivation (EBV, VZV). Levels of constitutively activated T cells (CD8+/CD69+) and virus-specific T cells (CMV and EBV) decreased during the study. Cortisol levels (plasma and saliva) did not vary significantly during 90-d bed rest. Conclusions: These data demonstrate the absence of significant immune system alteration and physiological stress during 90-d bed rest, and establish control data against which future studies (including countermeasures) may be compared.
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Keywords: cytokines; immune function; microgravity; viral reactivation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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