Prolonged exposure of astronauts to space radiation and extended microgravity has revealed profound physiological and clinical changes in the health. Many of the health problems can be explained by the effects of microgravity. As we have shown recently, the multiplex array assay has revealed an increased inflammation process in endothelial cells cultivated in vitro under microgravity conditions. The Earth’s magnetic field protects us from harmful radiation. However, astronauts are exposed to ten times as much radiation - and that is just in low Earth orbit. In deep space, astronauts can be exposed to even higher doses. It is well known that large amounts of radiation can cause severe damage that includes cancer, cataracts, acute radiation sickness, hereditary effects, and damage to the central nervous system. The multiplex array assay is used to screen cytokine and chemokine concentrations present in the astronaut's serum before and after spaceflight to assess precisely space-induced effects on humans. The determination of many pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, tissue hormones and factors orchestrating the host defense will allow a broad applicability of these assays. Especially when only very little volume can be provided.
|Published - 3 Oct 2007