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Space flight stress gives viruses a break from immune surveillance, endangering future missions for deep space – ScienceDaily



Herpes viruses reactivate more than half of crew aboard space shuttles and international space stations, according to a NASA study published in Frontiers in Microbiology . While only a small portion develops symptoms, the rate of reactivation of the virus increases with the duration of space flights and may represent a significant health risk for missions to and from Mars.

Herpes viruses are reactivated in immunocompromised astronauts. "said the senior author, Dr. Satis K. Mehta, of KBR Wyle at the Johnson Space Center," This physical challenge is compounded by more familiar stressors such as social separation, retention, and a changed sleep-wake cycle. " and after space flights. "During space flights there is an increase in secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress the immune system. Accordingly, we find that astronaut immune cells ̵

1; especially those that normally suppress and eliminate viruses – become less effective during space flights and sometimes up to 60 days thereafter. "In the midst of this amnesty caused by stress in viral killings, passive viruses reactivate and reappear. 47 of the 53 (53%) astronauts of short space shuttle flights and 14 of 23 (61%) longer ISS missions have shed herpes viruses in samples of saliva or urine, "Mehta reports. "These frequencies – as well as the amount – of viral shedding are significantly higher than in pre- or post-flight samples or by compatible healthy controls."

In general, four of the eight known human herpesviruses were detected. These include varieties responsible for oral and genital herpes (HSV), varicella and herpes zoster (VZV) – which remain life-long in our neural cells – as well as CMV and EBV, which receive a consistent but seamless residence in our immune cells through childhood, CMV and EBV are two viruses associated with causing different strains of mononucleosis or "kissing disease."

Deep study may depend on effective prevention and treatment

So far, this viral shedding is typically asymptomatic. "Only six astronauts have developed some symptoms due to reactivation of the virus," says Mehta. "Everyone was insignificant." However, the persistent virus after take-off may endanger immunocompromised or non-contacted contacts on Earth, such as newborns. Space station. "

Moreover, while we prepare for human deep space missions beyond the Moon and Mars, the risk of reactivating herpes virus for astronauts and their contacts may become more critical

" The scale, frequency

The development of measures to counteract viral reactivation are essential to the success of these missions in deep space, Mehta says. "The ideal countermeasure is vaccination for astronauts – but so far this is only possible against VZV."

"Studies of other herpes virus vaccines show little promise, so our current focus is on developing target treatment regimens for persons suffering from

This study has a tremendous clinical relevance for Earth patients, and space-based technologies for the rapid detection of the saliva virus have been used in clinics and hospitals around the world. and length.


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