New Insights on Health Effects of Long-Duration Space Flight – 30 Scientific Papers From More Than 200 Investigators

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Professor Susan Bailey and Dr. Kjell Lindgren

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Professor Susan Bailey and Dr. Kjell Lindgren, NASA astronaut, throughout a see to Bailey’s laboratory in 2016. Lindgren is an alumnus of Colorado State University. Credit: CSU Photography

The historical NASA Twins Study examined twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly and supplied brand-new details on the health results of spending quality time in area.

Colorado State University Professor Susan Bailey was among more than 80 researchers throughout 12 universities who carried out research study on the book experiment; Mark stayed on Earth while Scott orbited high above for almost one year. The enormous effort was collaborated by NASA’s Human Research Program.

Bailey has actually continued her NASA research study and now signs up with more than 200 detectives from lots of scholastic, federal government, aerospace, and market groups to release a plan of 30 clinical documents in 5 Cell Press journals on November 25, 2020.

Jared Luxton, who just recently got his postgraduate degree in cell and molecular biology at CSU, is the very first author of 2 of the research studies. He is now an information researcher with the United States Department of Agriculture in Fort Collins.

The research study — consisting of an over-arching paper that covers what the detectives have actually learnt more about the basic functions of area flight — represents the biggest set of area biology and astronaut health results information ever produced.

For Bailey, it is likewise a turning point marking several years of dealing with NASA, that included her lead function on fundamental radiation research studies and the honor of being picked as a detective for the Twins Study and concurrent research study tasks including astronauts. During this time, a number of college students in her laboratory made postgraduate degrees under her mentorship.

“We now have a structure to construct on — things we understand to search for in future astronauts, consisting of telomere length modifications and DNA damage actions,” Bailey stated. “Going forward, our goal is to get a better idea of underlying mechanisms, of what’s going on during long-duration space flight in the human body and how it varies between people. Not everybody responds the same way. That was one of the good things about having the larger cohort of astronauts in these studies.”

Studying completions of chromosomes, with ramifications for aging

Bailey is a professional on telomeres and radiation-induced DNA damage, locations of research study that were of eager interest worldwide when the Twins Study was released. In that research study, she and her group discovered that Scott’s telomeres in his leukocyte got longer while in area, and consequently went back to near regular length after he was back on Earth.

Telomeres are protective “caps” on completions of chromosomes that reduce as an individual ages. Large modifications in telomere length might suggest an individual is at threat for sped up aging or the illness that occur with aging, heart disease, and cancer for instance.

In the most recent research study, Bailey, Luxton, Senior Research Associate Lynn Taylor and group studied a group of 10 unassociated astronauts, consisting of CSU alum Dr. Kjell Lindgren, comparing the outcomes with findings from the Kelly twins. The scientists did not have access to in-flight blood and other samples for all of the crewmembers, however Bailey stated they did have blood samples prior to and after area flight for everybody.

The examinations included astronauts who invested around 6 months on the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit, which is safeguarded from some area radiation. Despite the security, researchers discovered proof of DNA damage that might be cautioning indications of possible health results.

New discovery of oxidative tension

Among the brand-new findings, the research study group discovered that persistent oxidative tension throughout spaceflight added to the telomere elongation they observed. They likewise discovered that astronauts in basic had much shorter telomeres after spaceflight than they did in the past. The group likewise observed specific distinctions in actions.

To gain more insight on these findings, Bailey’s group likewise studied twin mountain climbers who scaled Mt. Everest, a severe environment on Earth. The non-climbing twins stayed at lower elevation, consisting of in Boulder, Colorado. Remarkably, the group discovered comparable proof of oxidative tension and modifications in telomere length in the climbers.

Christopher Mason, associate teacher at Weill Cornell Medicine and a co-author with Bailey, carried out gene expression analyses on the Mt. Everest climbers. He discovered proof of a telomerase-independent, recombination-based path of telomere length upkeep understood to lead to longer telomeres.

Bailey stated that when persistent oxidative tension takes place, it harms telomeres.

“Normal blood cells are dying and trying to survive,” she stated. “They’re adapting to their new environment. Some cells will activate an alternative pathway to keep their telomeres going. It’s similar to what happens with some tumors. Some of the cells emerge from that process. That’s what we think we’re seeing during spaceflight as well.”

Luxton stated the system explained above — called alternative lengthening of telomeres, or ALT — was an unforeseen finding.

“You usually see that in cancer or in developing embryos,” he stated.

Take care of your telomeres

Similar to conclusions from the Twins Study, Bailey stated the brand-new findings have ramifications for future area tourists developing a base upon the Moon or taking a trip to Mars, or perhaps as an area traveler. Long-period expedition objectives will include increased time and range beyond the security of the Earth.

Although longer telomeres in area may appear like an advantage, possibly even a “fountain of youth,” the researcher stated she believes a rather various ending to the story.

“Extended lifespan, or immortality, of cells that have suffered space radiation-induced DNA damage, such as chromosomal inversions, is a recipe for increased cancer risk,” she stated.

Bailey stated she and the group observed increased frequencies of inversions in all crewmembers, throughout and after spaceflight.

“Telomeres really are reflective of our lifestyles — whether on or off the planet,” stated Bailey. “Our choices do make a difference in how quickly or how well we are aging. It’s important to take care of your telomeres.”

Bailey is a senior author of:

  • “Fundamental Biological Features of Spaceflight: Advancing the Field to Enable Deep Space Exploration” to be released in Cell.
  • “Temporal Telomere and DNA Damage Responses in the Space Radiation Environment,” to be released in Cell Reports.
  • “Telomere Length Dynamics and DNA Damage Responses Associated with Long-Duration Spaceflight, which will likewise be released in Cell Reports.

Bailey and Luxton are likewise co-authors of “Haplotype Diversity and Sequence Heterogeneity of Human Telomeres,” to be released in Genome Research.



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