Author(s): Simons DM, Gardner EM, Lelkes PI
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Abstract Depressed immune function is a well-documented effect of spaceflight. Both in-flight studies and ground-based studies using microgravity analogs, such as rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactors, have demonstrated that mitogen-stimulated T lymphocytes exhibit decreased proliferation, IL-2 secretion, and activation marker expression in true microgravity and the dynamic RWV-culture environment. This study investigates the kinetics of RWV-induced T lymphocyte inhibition by monitoring the ability of Balb/c mouse splenocytes to become activated under static culture conditions after concanavalin A (Con A) stimulation in an RWV. Splenocytes were stimulated with Con A and cultured for up to 24 h in the RWV before being allowed to "recover" under static culture conditions in the continued presence of Con A. The T-lymphocyte fraction of splenocytes was assayed during the recovery period for IL-2 secretion, expansion of the T-lymphocyte population, and expression of the activation marker CD25. Our results indicate that CD25 expression was not affected by any duration of RWV exposure. In contrast, proliferation and IL-2 secretion were inhibited by >8 and 12 h of exposure, respectively. Culture in the RWV for 24 h resulted in a near-complete loss of cellular viability during the recovery period, which was not seen in cells maintained in the RWV for 16 h or less. Taken together, these results indicate that for up to 8 h of RWV culture activation is not significantly impaired upon return to static conditions; longer duration RWV culture results in a gradual loss of activation during the recovery period most likely because of decreased T-cell viability and/or IL-2 production.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology