Human spaceflight is associated with several health-related issues as a result of long-term exposure to microgravity, ionizing radiation, and higher levels of psychological stress. Frequent reported skin problems in space include rashes, itches, and a delayed wound healing. Access to space is restricted by financial and logistical issues; as a consequence, experimental sample sizes are often small, which limits the generalization of the results. Earth-based simulation models can be used to investigate cellular responses as a result of exposure to certain spaceflight stressors. Here, we describe the development of an in vitro model of the simulated spaceflight environment, which we used to investigate the combined effect of simulated microgravity using the random positioning machine (RPM), ionizing radiation, and stress hormones on the wound-healing capacity of human dermal fibroblasts. Fibroblasts were exposed to cortisol, after which they were irradiated with different radiation qualities (including X-rays, protons, carbon ions, and iron ions) followed by exposure to simulated microgravity using a random positioning machine (RPM). Data related to the inflammatory, proliferation, and remodeling phase of wound healing has been collected. Results show that spaceflight stressors can interfere with the wound healing process at any phase. Moreover, several interactions between the different spaceflight stressors were found. This highlights the complexity that needs to be taken into account when studying the effect of spaceflight stressors on certain biological processes and for the aim of countermeasures development.
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)