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PLOS ONE  2013 

Spaceflight Influences both Mucosal and Peripheral Cytokine Production in PTN-Tg and Wild Type Mice

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068961

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Spaceflight is associated with several health issues including diminished immune efficiency. Effects of long-term spaceflight on selected immune parameters of wild type (Wt) and transgenic mice over-expressing pleiotrophin under the human bone-specific osteocalcin promoter (PTN-Tg) were examined using the novel Mouse Drawer System (MDS) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over a 91 day period. Effects of this long duration flight on PTN-Tg and Wt mice were determined in comparison to ground controls and vivarium-housed PTN-Tg and Wt mice. Levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) were measured in mucosal and systemic tissues of Wt and PTN-Tg mice. Colonic contents were also analyzed to assess potential effects on the gut microbiota, although no firm conclusions could be made due to constraints imposed by the MDS payload and the time of sampling. Spaceflight-associated differences were observed in colonic tissue and systemic lymph node levels of IL-2 and TGF-β1 relative to ground controls. Total colonic TGF-β1 levels were lower in Wt and PTN-Tg flight mice in comparison to ground controls. The Wt flight mouse had lower levels of IL-2 and TGF-β1 compared to the Wt ground control in both the inguinal and brachial lymph nodes, however this pattern was not consistently observed in PTN-Tg mice. Vivarium-housed Wt controls had higher levels of active TGF-β1 and IL-2 in inguinal lymph nodes relative to PTN-Tg mice. The results of this study suggest compartmentalized effects of spaceflight and on immune parameters in mice.


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