Space Flight Enhances Macrophage Cytokine Secretion

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Space Flight Enhances Macrophage Cytokine Secretion: We asked the question, does space flight impact the ability of macrophages to secrete cytokines? We used the macrophage cell line B6MP102 to do this experiment. We like these cells because they behave like real macrophages in many ways, including cytokine responses. As can be seen from this graph, they are very handy. In this experiment, the B6MP102 cells were grown on collagen beads. A photomicrograph of the cells growing on the beads is seen on the next slide. B6MP102 cells were placed into a device called the Bioprocessing Module. Bioprocessing modules are another kind of "space test tube" that allowed the astronauts to manipulate the cells. The FPA is illustrated in the slide after next. Cells were cultured on beads in chamber C. Once in space, the B6MP102 cells were stimulated with medium alone or medium containing a chemical called lipopolysaccharide. This chemical stimulated the B6MP102 cells to secrete cytokines. The medium from chamber A was forced into chamber C. After 24 hrs, the medium was forced through a filter in the chamber C, and collected in chamber B. This cell-free solution was brought back to Earth and analyzed for the presence of cytokines. One of the cytokines that was assessed was interleukin-1 (IL-1). The results of that analysis are shown on this slide. Cells stimulated with medium alone in space or on Earth did not make much IL-1. However, on Earth cells stimulated with the chemical lipopolysaccharide made significantly more IL-1. More dramatically, the B6MP102 cells stimulated in space made twice as much IL-1 as the cells stimulated on Earth. Similar data were obtained for the cytokine tumor necrosis factor and the data were confirmed on other shuttle flights.

Conclusion: B6MP102 macrophages are able to make more cytokines in space and do it in larger quantities than cells stimulated on Earth.