ArticlePDF Available

The Neurolab Spacelab Mission: Neuroscience Research in Space: Results from the STS-90, Neurolab Spacelab Mission

Authors:

Abstract

Neurolab (STS-90) represents a major scientific achievement that built upon the knowledge and capabilities developed during the preceding 15 successful Spacelab module missions. NASA proposed a dedicated neuroscience research flight in response to a Presidential declaration that the 1990's be the Decade of the Brain. Criteria were established for selecting research proposals in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NM), the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and a number of the International Space Agencies. The resulting Announcement of Opportunity for Neurolab in 1993 resulted in 172 proposals from scientists worldwide. After an NIH-managed peer review, NASA ultimately selected 26 proposals for flight on the Neurolab mission.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... The relationship between the two are similar for subjects with presyncope or without syncope upon return to Earth [127]. The central baroreflex responses to changes in SV are maintained postflight (increase in HR, tachycardia) and are similar to the responses observed preflight, despite the decrease in cardiac size and blood volume [128]. Postflight, a decrease in vascular contractility is observed (peripheral baroreflex response). ...
Article
Full-text available
On Earth, humans are subjected to a gravitational force that has been an important determinant in human evolution and function. During spaceflight, astronauts are subjected to several hazards including a prolonged state of microgravity that induces a myriad of physiological adaptations leading to orthostatic intolerance. This review summarises all known cardiovascular diseases related to human spaceflight and focusses on the cardiovascular changes related to human spaceflight (in vivo) as well as cellular and molecular changes (in vitro). Upon entering microgravity, cephalad fluid shift occurs and increases the stroke volume (35–46%) and cardiac output (18–41%). Despite this increase, astronauts enter a state of hypovolemia (10–15% decrease in blood volume). The absence of orthostatic pressure and a decrease in arterial pressures reduces the workload of the heart and is believed to be the underlying mechanism for the development of cardiac atrophy in space. Cellular and molecular changes include altered cell shape and endothelial dysfunction through suppressed cellular proliferation as well as increased cell apoptosis and oxidative stress. Human spaceflight is associated with several cardiovascular risk factors. Through the use of microgravity platforms, multiple physiological changes can be studied and stimulate the development of appropriate tools and countermeasures for future human spaceflight missions in low Earth orbit and beyond.
... Neurophysiological problems have also been reported to appear in astronauts conducting spaceflights [119][120][121], suggesting that brain cells are also affected by the microgravity environment. Almost two decades ago, Uva et al. [122] conducted one of the first studies to investigate microgravity-induced alterations in cells of the nervous system. ...
Article
Full-text available
All life forms have evolved under the constant force of gravity on Earth and developed ways to counterbalance acceleration load. In space, shear forces, buoyance-driven convection, and hydrostatic pressure are nullified or strongly reduced. When subjected to microgravity in space, the equilibrium between cell architecture and the external force is disturbed, resulting in changes at the cellular and sub-cellular levels (e.g., cytoskeleton, signal transduction, membrane permeability, etc.). Cosmic radiation also poses great health risks to astronauts because it has high linear energy transfer values that evoke complex DNA and other cellular damage. Space environmental conditions have been shown to influence apoptosis in various cell types. Apoptosis has important functions in morphogenesis, organ development, and wound healing. This review provides an overview of microgravity research platforms and apoptosis. The sections summarize the current knowledge of the impact of microgravity and cosmic radiation on cells with respect to apoptosis. Apoptosis-related microgravity experiments conducted with different mammalian model systems are presented. Recent findings in cells of the immune system, cardiovascular system, brain, eyes, cartilage, bone, gastrointestinal tract, liver, and pancreas, as well as cancer cells investigated under real and simulated microgravity conditions, are discussed. This comprehensive review indicates the potential of the space environment in biomedical research.
Article
Full-text available
Background The vestibular (otolith) function is highly suppressed during space flight (SF) and the study of these changes is very important for the safety of the space crew during SF missions. The vestibular function (particularly, otolith-ocular reflex–OOcR) in clinical and space medicine is studied using different methodologies. However, different methods and methodologies can influence the outcome results. Objective The current study addresses the question of whether the OOcR results obtained by different methods are different, and what the role is of the different afferent systems in the modulation of the OOcR. Methods A total of 25 Russian cosmonauts voluntarily took part in our study. They are crewmembers of long duration space missions on the International Space Station (ISS). Cosmonauts were examined in pre- and post-flight “Sensory Adaptation” and “Gaze Spin” experiments, twice before (preflight) and three times after SF (post-flight). We used two different video oculography (VOG) systems for the recording of the OOcR obtained in each experiment. Results Comparison of the two VOG systems didn’t result into significant and systematic differences in the OOcR measurements. Analysis of the static torsion otolith–ocular reflex (OOR), static torsion otolith–cervical–ocular reflex (OCOR) and static torsion otolith–ocular reflex during eccentric centrifugation (OOREC) shows that the OOREC results in a lower OOcR response compared to the OOR and OCOR (before flight and late post-flight). However, all OOcRs were significantly decreased in all cosmonauts early post-flight. Conclusion Analysis of the results of ocular counter rolling (OCR) obtained by different methods (OOR, OCOR, and OOREC) showed that different afferent systems (tactile-proprioception, neck-cervical, visual and vestibular afferent input) have an impact on the OOcR.
Article
Space travel is soon going to be a reality. With already 700 people signed up for commercial trip the scientific community is being pushed to limits which knows no boundaries. Over the past Six Decades outer space has slowly been unraveling itself in a manner which has transformed from a generating a response of fear to that of challenge. Because of the harsh environment in space, astronauts are at risk of both short- and long-term health risks. The 2 major challenges associated with spaceflight are radiation effects and the physiologic consequences of a microgravity environment. Many of the immediate risks (decompression, thermal injury, arcing injuries) are mitigated by the design of the spacecraft and spacesuits. The biologic effects of long-term exposure to space radiation are still unclear. It may range from, development of cataracts and concerto altered neurobiology.
Article
The Mark III Rodent Habitat Workshop was held at NASA Ames Research Center on March 21-22, 2013 to prepare top-level science requirements for developing a habitat to support studies of mammalian reproduction and development on the International Space Station (ISS). This timely workshop assembled a diverse team with expertise in reproductive and developmental biology, behavior, space biosciences, habitat development, physiology, mouse genetics, veterinary medicine, rodent husbandry, flight hardware development (rodent), and spaceflight operations. Participants received overview presentations from each discipline, discussed concerns, potential risks, and risk mitigations corresponding to distinctive reproductive and developmental phases, and reviewed specific examples of research within the major space bioscience disciplines requiring a Mark III habitat ¹ to achieve their objectives. In this review, we present the workshop materials and products, and summarize major recommendations for defining the requirements envelope for the NASA Rodent Habitat (RH) Mark III. Development of this habitat will permit the first long duration studies of mammalian reproduction and development in space, within and across generations.
Preprint
Full-text available
Space biology research aims to understand fundamental effects of spaceflight on organisms, develop foundational knowledge to support deep space exploration, and ultimately bioengineer spacecraft and habitats to stabilize the ecosystem of plants, crops, microbes, animals, and humans for sustained multi-planetary life. To advance these aims, the field leverages experiments, platforms, data, and model organisms from both spaceborne and ground-analog studies. As research is extended beyond low Earth orbit, experiments and platforms must be maximally autonomous, light, agile, and intelligent to expedite knowledge discovery. Here we present a summary of recommendations from a workshop organized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and modeling applications which offer key solutions toward these space biology challenges. In the next decade, the synthesis of artificial intelligence into the field of space biology will deepen the biological understanding of spaceflight effects, facilitate predictive modeling and analytics, support maximally autonomous and reproducible experiments, and efficiently manage spaceborne data and metadata, all with the goal to enable life to thrive in deep space.
Chapter
When Apollo 16 took off for the Moon in 1972, the Federal Republic of Germany launched its first life science research project in space: the BIOSTACK experiment to study the intensity and composition of cosmic radiation became part of the Apollo missions. The TEXUS rocket programme was initiated in 1976 to pave the ground for the European space laboratory Spacelab, whose 1983 maiden flight on an American Space Shuttle raised microgravity research to an entirely new quality. The German Spacelab missions D-1 and D-2 followed and further cooperation between Europe and the US was realized during the Shuttle/Spacelab era in the frame of the so-called IML model. The German-Russian MIR’92 and MIR’97 missions, two EUROMIR missions by ESA, and several CNES missions to MIR provided Europe’s scientists with further attractive research opportunities, as did parabolic flights on an Airbus A300 from the late 1990s onward. A new chapter has been opened by the ISS and its European Columbus laboratory. In addition, terrestrial simulation capabilities for biology, as well as bed rest, isolation, and confinement studies for research in human physiology and psychology, prepare and complement life sciences research in space.
Chapter
Research and development programs such as space life sciences often require technical solutions for extreme environments and, in many cases, lead to improvements of existing or to the creation of new production methods or technologies, products, and instruments. Small, compact, light, easy-to-handle, and—if possible—non-invasive application—these are the characteristics of devices and methods, which astronauts prefer for physiological routine measurements and experiments. The same features however are also of great advantage on Earth, especially for newborns and elderly people as well as for routine application in hospitals and in extreme and isolated environments such as Antarctica or in submarines. Therefore, it is not too surprising that technologies and devices originally developed for space are routinely analyzed regarding the potential for terrestrial applications. Also, existing technologies and devices already available on Earth have been improved, tested, and applied in the harsh and challenging conditions of spaceflight thus promoting their commercial success. Overall, these achievements do not only stimulate new markets, industries, and opportunities but also improve the general quality of life. These benefits and the impact on science and economy however are often not immediate and obvious; and not seldom, it takes many years for a new idea to be transformed into a marketable product or service as will be shown in this chapter.
Article
Full-text available
Microgravity is the key environment of weightlessness experienced by all astronauts during spaceflights that cause severe physiological alterations in the human body. The effect of microgravity on the nervous system has not been elucidated. In this study, hindlimb unloading rats were used as the simulated microgravity model, and self-designed novel microelectrode arrays were used as the essential tools. The special arrangement of detection sites and platinum nanoparticles modification made the electrodes have excellent performance at the neuron level. By comparing the changes of the neuroelectrophysiological signals in the CA1 regions of rats in different periods of long-term and short-term modeling, the following results were obtained. In the long-term model, the firing rates reached a peak after about seven days of modeling, and then kept decreasing till 28 days. The average firing rates and individual single cell firing rates of the acute model rose immediately after modeling. Analysis of power spectral density signals showed that the signals shifted to the low frequency band after both long-term and acute modeling. The neurons in the CA1 were classified into pyramidal cells and interneurons. The continuous observation of neurons under the acute modeling showed that the firing rates and amplitude of pyramidal cells have a greater increase than interneurons. The self-designed novel implantable microelectrode arrays provide an advanced tool for the detection of neurons in hindlimb unloading rats. The hippocampal nerve cells were impaired after modulation, and that pyramidal cells were more susceptible than interneurons.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.