Effects of Microgravity and Space Flight on Macrophages

Stephen Keith Chapes

Division of Biology,

Kansas State University

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Introduction: In 1987 my group began to study how space flight would affect the immune system. In particular, we focused on one immune cell that is central to the immune response, the macrophage. We did a number of ground-based studies to examine how macrophages were impacted by physiological conditions animals might encounter during space flight. We also examined how short periods of microgravity, as experienced during KC-135 flights, or space flight, affected how macrophages functioned. This story is about how spaceflight or microgravity affects how macrophages do things.