Status Report

NASA Spaceline Current Awareness List #952 4 June 2021 (Space Life Science Research Results)

By SpaceRef Editor
June 4, 2021
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SPACELINE Current Awareness Lists are distributed via listserv and are available on the NASA Task Book website at Please send any correspondence to Shawna Byrd, SPACELINE Current Awareness Senior Editor,
Papers deriving from NASA support:
Reynolds R, Little MP, Day S, Charvat J, Blattnig S, Huff J, Patel ZS.
Cancer incidence and mortality in the USA Astronaut Corps, 1959-2017.
Occup Environ Med. 2021 May 26. Online ahead of print.
Note: From the abstract: “Cancer incidence and mortality are important outcomes in the surveillance of long-term astronaut health. We compare cancer incidence rates, cancer-specific mortality rates, and cancer case-fatality ratios in US astronauts with those in the US general population.”
Journal Impact Factor: 3.824
Funding: “This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. However, the authors were supported in their work by the following: Mortality Research & Consulting. The Translational Research Institute for Space Health through NASA Cooperative Agreement NNX16AO69A. The Intramural Research Programme of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. The Human Research Programme of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The NASA Human Health and Performance contract NNJ15HK11B.”
Winkelmaier G, Parvin B.
An enhanced loss function simplifies the deep learning model for characterizing the 3D organoid models.
Bioinformatics. 2021 Feb 23;btab120. Online ahead of print.
PI: J. Pluth
Note: From the abstract: “Organization of the organoid models, imaged in 3D with a confocal microscope, is an essential morphometric index to assess responses to stress or therapeutic targets. In fact, differentiating malignant and normal cells is often difficult in monolayer cultures. But in 3D culture, colony organization can provide a clear set of indices for differentiating malignant and normal cells. The limiting factors are delineating each cell in a 3D colony in the presence of perceptual boundaries between adjacent cells and heterogeneity associated with cells being at different cell cycles.”
Journal Impact Factor: 5.610
Funding: “This work was partially supported by National Institutes of Health R15-CA235430 and National Aeronautics Space Administration 80NSSC18K1464.”
Möstl S, Orter S, Hoffmann F, Bachler M, Hametner B, Wassertheurer S, Rabineau J, Mulder E, Johannes B, Jordan J, Tank J.
Limited effect of 60-days strict head down tilt bed rest on vascular aging.
Front Physiol. 2021 May 28;12:685473.
Note: Head-down tilt bed rest study. This article is part of the Research Topic “Investigation of the Inter-individual Variability of Physiological Responses to Changes in Activity Levels-, Gravity Loading-, Nutritional Status, Pharmaceuticals and Exposure to Radiation” ( The Research Topic also includes articles from previous Current Awareness Lists #921 and #937 Additional articles will be forthcoming and may be found in the link to the Research Topic. This article may be obtained online without charge.
Journal Impact Factor: 2.067
Funding: “The AGBRESA-study was funded by DLR, ESA (contract number 4000113871/15/NL/PG), and NASA (contract number 80JSC018P0078). DLR, ESA, and NASA designed the bed rest study, but had no role in the design, data analysis, manuscript draft, or decision to publish the part of the study described in this manuscript. FH received funding by DLR and the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, BMWi (50WB1816). SO, MB, BH, and SW were funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, BMK (SPACE4ALL Project, FFG No. 866761). JR was funded by FNRS (FC 29801).”
Ramroop JR, Heavner ME, Razzak ZH, Govind S.
A parasitoid wasp of Drosophila employs preemptive and reactive strategies to deplete its host’s blood cells.
PLoS Pathog. 2021 May 28;17(5):e1009615.
PI: S. Govind
Note: From the summary: “We describe the effects of a unique class of EVs [extracellular vesicles] containing virulence proteins and produced in the venom of wasps that parasitize fruit flies of Drosophila species. EVs from Leptopilina heterotoma are widely distributed throughout the Drosophila hosts’ circulatory system after infection. They enter and kill macrophages by destroying the very same subcellular machinery that facilitates their uptake. An important protein in this process, Rab5, is needed to maintain the identity of the macrophage; when Rab5 function is reduced, macrophages turn into a different cell type called lamellocytes. Activities in the EVs can eliminate lamellocytes as well. EVs also interfere with the hosts’ genetic program that promotes lamellocyte differentiation needed to block parasite development. Thus, wasps combine specific preemptive and reactive strategies to deplete their hosts of the very cells that would otherwise sequester and kill them. These findings have applied value in agricultural pest control and medical therapeutics.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Journal Impact Factor: 3.998
Funding: “SG received funding from the National and Aeronautical Space Agency (NNX15AB42G), the National Science Foundation (1121817 & 2022235) and the National Institutes of Health (G12MD007603-30 to CCNY). MEH received funding from the National Institutes of Health (1F31GM111052-01A1). JR received a Howard and Vicki Palefsky Fellowship.”
Other papers of interest:
Furukawa S, Chatani M, Higashitani A, Higashibata A, Kawano F, Nikawa T, Numaga-Tomita T, Ogura T, Sato F, Sehara-Fujisawa A, Shinohara M, Shimazu T, Takahashi S, Watanabe-Takano H.
Findings from recent studies by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency examining musculoskeletal atrophy in space and on Earth.
npj Microgravity. 2021 May 26;7(1):18. Review.
Note: From the introduction: “The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has conducted several spaceflight experiments to study the effects of space environments on muscles and bones using the Space Shuttle, Soyuz, SpaceX, and the ISS. …we have provided a unique overview of the findings of JAXA missions.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Jaster JH.
Gravity in the brain-how it may regulate skeletal muscle metabolism by balancing compressive ischemic changes in the weight-bearing pituitary and hypothalamus.
Physiol Rep. 2021 May;9(10):e14878. Letter to the Editor.
Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.
Kourtidou-Papadeli C, Frantzidis CA, Gilou S, Plomariti CE, Nday CM, Karnaras D, Bakas L, Bamidis PD, Vernikos J.
Gravity threshold and dose response relationships: Health benefits using a short arm human centrifuge.
Front Physiol. 2021 May 11;12:644661.
Note: A short arm human centrifuge was used in this study. From the abstract: “Increasing the level of gravity passively on a centrifuge, should be equal to or even more beneficial not only to astronauts living in a microgravity environment but also to patients confined to bed. Gravity therapy (GT) may have beneficial effects on numerous conditions, such as immobility due to neuromuscular disorders, balance disorders, stroke, sports injuries. However, the appropriate configuration for administering the Gz load remains to be determined.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Choi DH, Jeon B, Lim MH, Lee DH, Ye S-K, Jeong S-Y, Kim S.
3D cell culture using a clinostat reproduces microgravity-induced skin changes.
npj Microgravity. 2021 Jun 1;7(1):20.
Note: A 3D clinostat was used in this study. From the abstract: “Exposure to microgravity affects human physiology in various ways, and astronauts frequently report skin-related problems. Skin rash and irritation are frequent complaints during space missions, and skin thinning has also been reported after returning to Earth. However, spaceflight missions for studying the physiological changes in microgravity are impractical. Thus, we used a previously developed 3D clinostat to simulate a microgravity environment and investigate whether physiological changes of the skin can be reproduced in a 3D in vitro setting.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Santoni M, Tombesi F, Cimadamore A, Montironi R, Piva F.
Conceptual analogies between multi-scale feeding and feedback cycles in supermassive black hole and cancer environments.
Front Oncol. 2021 May 11;11:634818. Review.
Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.
Anderson GK, Rosenberg AJ, Barnes HJ, Bird J, Pentz B, Byman BRM, Jendzjowsky N, Wilson RJA, Day TA, Rickards CA.
Peaks and valleys: Oscillatory cerebral blood flow at high altitude protects cerebral tissue oxygenation.
Physiol Meas. 2021 May 26. Online ahead of print.
Note: From the abstract: “Eight healthy human subjects (4 male, 4 female; 30.1±7.6 y) participated in two experiments at high altitude (White Mountain, California, USA; altitude, 3800 m) following rapid ascent and 5-7 days of acclimatization: 1) static lower body negative pressure (LBNP, control condition) was used to induce central hypovolemia by reducing chamber pressure to -60 mmHg for 10-min (0 Hz), and; 2) oscillatory LBNP where chamber pressure was reduced to -60 mmHg, then oscillated every 5-s between -30 mmHg and -90 mmHg for 10-min (0.1 Hz). Measurements included arterial pressure, internal carotid artery (ICA) blood flow, middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv), and cerebral tissue oxygen saturation (ScO2).”
Fu J, Goldsmith M, Crooks SD, Condon SF, Morris M, Komarova SV.
Bone health in spacefaring rodents and primates: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
npj Microgravity. 2021 Jun 1;7(1):19. Review.
Note: From the introduction: “The objectives of this study were to (i) to systematically identify all the published literature regarding bone health in vertebrate animals that were part of experiments performed in space; (ii) use a meta-analytic approach to quantitatively characterize space-related changes to bone architecture and turnover in animals, (iii) identify cofounding variables associated with changes in bone health.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Harris TL, Silva MJ.
Gene expression of intracortical bone demonstrates loading-induced increases in Wnt1 and Ngf and inhibition of bone remodeling processes.
Bone. 2021 May 21;150:116019. Online ahead of print.
Note: Mechanical loading was used in this study.
Hoppes CW, Lambert KH, Klatt BN, Harvard OD, Whitney SL.
Vestibular physical therapy treatment of individuals exposed to directed energy.
Mil Med. 2021 May 22;usab202. Online ahead of print.
Note: From the abstract: “Following suspected sonic attacks on U.S. Embassies, a subset of individuals presented with a unique cluster of symptoms believed to have resulted from exposure to directed energy. Directed energy has been described as exposure to a unique sound/pressure phenomenon such as infrasonic or ultrasonic acoustic or electromagnetic energy. The Joint Force does not have an established protocol to guide vestibular physical therapy for individuals exposed to directed energy. Therefore, we have provided evidence-based guidance for the treatment of oculomotor- and vestibular-related impairments from similar populations.” This article may be obtained online without charge.
Wang J, Garg S, Landes RD, Liu L, Fu Q, Seng J, Boerma M, Thrall K, Hauer-Jensen M, Pathak R.
Differential recovery of small intestinal segments after partial-body irradiation in non-human primates.
Radiat Res. 2021 May 27. Online ahead of print.
Note: From the abstract: “Here we investigated the recovery rate and extent of recovery from PBI-induced intestinal damage in large animals.”
Mendt S, Brauns K, Friedl-Werner A, Belavy DL, Steinach M, Schlabs T, Werner A, Gunga HC, Stahn AC.
Long-term bed rest delays the circadian phase of core body temperature.
Front Physiol. 2021 May 10;12:658707.
Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.

SpaceRef staff editor.