NASA Spaceline Current Awareness List #951 28 May 2021 (Space Life Science Research Results)

Status Report From: Spaceline
Posted: Friday, May 28, 2021

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:

Marshall-Goebel K, Macias BR, Kramer LA, Hasan KM, Ferguson C, Patel N, Ploutz-Snyder RJ, Lee SMC, Ebert D, Sargsyan A, Dulchavsky S, Hargens AR, Stenger MB, Laurie S.

Association of structural changes in the brain and retina after long-duration spaceflight.

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021 May 20. Online ahead of print.

PIs: S. Laurie, A.R. Hargens, S. Dulchavsky, and B.R. Macias

Note: ISS results. From the abstract: “Long-duration spaceflight induces structural changes in the brain and eye. Identification of an association between cerebral and ocular changes could help determine if there are common or independent causes and inform targeted prevention strategies or treatments.”

Journal Impact Factor: 6.198

Funding: “This study was supported by NASA under the Human Research Program (grant NNJ11ZSA002NA and through directed research).”

Boyle R, Varelas J.

Otoconia structure after short- and long-duration exposure to altered gravity.

J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2021 May 18. Online ahead of print.

PI: R. Boyle

Note: ISS and Space Shuttle results; hindlimb unloading study. From the abstract: “Mice were housed 90 days on the International Space Station, 13 days on two Shuttle Orbiter missions, or exposed to 90 days of hindlimb unloading…”

Journal Impact Factor: 2.760

Funding: “This work was supported by NASA funds for collaboration with the Italian Space Agency ‘Mouse Drawer System’ and NASA Proposal ‘Inner Ear Otoconia Response in Mice to Micro- and Hyper-gravity’ (no. 11-11_Omni_2-0002). Funding was also provided in part by the Human Research Program (Johnson Space Center, Houston TX USA) and Space Biology (Ames Research Center, Mountain View CA USA).”

Kwok AT, Mohamed NS, Plate JF, Yammani RR, Rosas S, Bateman TA, Livingston E, Moore JE, Kerr BA, Lee J, Furdui CM, Tan L, Bouxsein ML, Ferguson VL, Stodieck LS, Zawieja DC, Delp MD, Mao XW, Willey JS.

Spaceflight and hind limb unloading induces an arthritic phenotype in knee articular cartilage and menisci of rodents.

Sci Rep. 2021 May 18;11(1):10469.

PI: J.S. Willey

Note: ISS and Space Shuttle Atlantis results; hindlimb unloading study. This article may be obtained online without charge.

Journal Impact Factor: 3.998

Funding: “This work was supported by NASA Space Biology grant # NNX15AB50G (JSW). We would like to thank Dr. Richard Loeser for his support during this project, and for David Long for his training with many of the procedures. We would like to thank the NASA Ames Biospecimen Sharing Program for support with meniscal tissue collection. The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (NIH/NCI P30 CA12197) provided for the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource (CMF and JL) and the Tumor Tissue and Pathology Shared Resource (Dave Caudell).”

Bailey DM, Ainslie PN, Petersen L, Eulenburg PZ.

Jumping at a chance to control cerebral blood flow in astronauts.

Exp Physiol. 2021 May 16. Online ahead of print.

PI: L. Petersen

Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.

Journal Impact Factor: 2.431

Funding: “D.M.B. is supported by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellowship (#WM170007). P.N.A. is supported by a Canada Research Chair in Cerebrovascular Physiology. L.P. is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US Department of Defense and the European Space Agency. P.z.E. is supported by the German Space Agency.”

Elhaik E, Ahsanuddin S, Robinson JM, Foster EM, Mason CE.

The impact of cross-kingdom molecular forensics on genetic privacy.

Microbiome. 2021 May 20;9(1):114.

PI: C.E. Mason

Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.

Journal Impact Factor: 5.282

Funding: “We would like to thank the Epigenomics Core Facility at Weill Cornell Medicine as well as the Starr Cancer Consortium grants (I9-A9-071) and funding from the Irma T. Hirschl and Monique Weill-Caulier Charitable Trusts, Bert L. and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation, the WorldQuant Foundation, The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance, NASA (NNX14AH50G, NNX17AB26G), the National Institutes of Health (R25EB020393, R01AI125416, R01ES021006), the National Science Foundation (grant no. 1120622), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1151054), and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (G-2015-13964), NIH (U01DA053941), and STARR (I13-0052). Support was also provided by the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Computational Biology and Medicine and the Clinical and Translational Science Center (Jeff Zhu). We would also like to thank the Crafoord Foundation, the Swedish Research Council (2020-03485), and Erik Philip-Sörensen Foundation (G2020- 011). The computations were enabled by resources provided by the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) at Lund, partially funded by the Swedish Research Council through grant agreement no. 2018-05973.”

Hixson KK, Marques JV, Wendler JP, McDermott JE, Weitz KK, Clauss TR, Monroe ME, Moore RJ, Brown J, Lipton MS, Bell CJ, Paša-Tolić L, Davin LB, Lewis NG.

New insights into lignification via network and multi-omics analyses of arogenate dehydratase knock-out mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Front Plant Sci. 2021 May 25;12:664250.

PI: N.G. Lewis

Journal Impact Factor: 4.402

Funding: “This work was supported by the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences (DE-FG-0397ER20259), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NNX15AG56G), and by NIH Grant T-32 GM008336 for Pre-doctoral Training in Biotechnology. A portion of this research was also supported by the EMSL user program, a DOE Office of Science User Facility support sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research and located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.”

Bijlani S, Stephens E, Singh NK, Venkateswaran K, Wang CCC.

Advances in space microbiology.

iScience. 2021 May 21;24(5):102395. Review.

PI: C.C.C. Wang

Note: This article may be obtained online without charge.

Journal Impact Factor: 4.447

Funding: “The authors acknowledge funds from NASA’s 2018 Space Biology (ROSBio) NNH18ZTT001N-FG App B: Flight and Ground Space Biology Research Grant 80NSSC19K1501 awarded to C.C.C.W and K.V. All figures including graphical abstract were prepared using BioRender (”


Other papers of interest:

Arbeille P, Greaves D, Chaput D, Maillet A, Hughson RL.

Index of reflectivity of ultrasound radio frequency signal from the carotid artery wall increases in astronauts after a 6 mo spaceflight.

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2021 May 14;S0301-5629(21)00149-6.

Note: ISS results. From the abstract: “The objective was to quantify the index of reflectivity of the common carotid artery and surrounding structures, before and after 6 mo of microgravity. Our hypothesis was that structural changes in the insonated target would increase its index of reflectivity. The neck anterior muscle and common carotid artery (walls and lumen) were visualized by echography (17 MHz linear probe), and the radiofrequency signal along each vertical line was displayed. The limits of the radiofrequency data corresponding to each target (muscle, vessel wall) were determined from the B-mode image and radiofrequency trace. Each target’s index of reflectivity was calculated as the proportion of backscattered energy to the whole backscattered energy along the line. After 6 mo in flight, the index of reflectivity increased significantly for both common carotid walls, while it remained unchanged for the neck muscle, carotid intima and lumen. The index of reflectivity provided additional information beyond traditional B-mode imaging.”

Brereton NJB, Pitre FE, Gonzalez E.

Reanalysis of the Mars500 experiment reveals common gut microbiome alterations in astronauts induced by long-duration confinement.

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2021 Apr 23;19:2223-35.

Note: Data are from the Mars500 Project. From the abstract: “This study reanalysed data from early (days 7–45) and late (days 420–520) faecal samples and identified 408 exact sequence variants (ESVs), including 213 shared by all astronauts.” This article may be obtained online without charge.

Liu S, Yao Y, Liu Q, Ba J.

[Research advancement in hypometabolic hibernation inducing drugs.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):166-72. Chinese.

Note: From the abstract: “In this paper, the application prospects of artificially induced hypometabolic hibernation in long-term space flight were introduced, and the basic features, animal experiments, low-metabolic dormancy induction effects and mechanisms of 11 drugs studied in recent years were summarized including dimethyl sulfoxide, ketamine, reserpine, chlorpromazine, oxytremor, pentobarbital, helium, 3-iodothyronamine, enkephalins, neuropeptide Y1 and hydrogen sulfide.”

Moosavi D, Wolovsky D, Depompeis A, Uher D, Lennington D, Bodden R, Garber CE.

The effects of spaceflight microgravity on the musculoskeletal system of humans and animals, with an emphasis on exercise as a countermeasure: A systematic scoping review.

Physiol Res. 2021 Apr 30;70(2):119-51.

Note: From the abstract: “The purpose of this systematic review is twofold: 1) to identify, evaluate, and synthesize the heretofore disparate scientific literatures regarding the effects of direct exposure to microgravity on the musculoskeletal system, taking into account for the first time both bone and muscle systems of both humans and animals; and 2) to investigate the efficacy and limitations of exercise countermeasures on the musculoskeletal system under microgravity in humans.” This article may be obtained online without charge.

Scarpa J, Wu CL.

The role for regional anesthesia in medical emergencies during deep space flight.

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2021 May 21;rapm-2021-102710.

Note: From the abstract: “In this daring discourse, we discuss particular considerations related to the use of regional techniques in space and present the rationale that regional anesthesia techniques may be the safest option in many medical emergencies encountered during prolonged space flight.”

Iordachescu A, Hughes EAB, Joseph S, Hill EJ, Grover LM, Metcalfe AD.

Trabecular bone organoids: A micron-scale ‘humanised’ prototype designed to study the effects of microgravity and degeneration.

npj Microgravity. 2021 May 21;7(1):17.

Note: A simulated microgravity bioreactor (NASA-Synthecon) was used in this study. This article may be obtained online without charge.

Topal U, Zamur C.

Microgravity, stem cells, and cancer: A new hope for cancer treatment.

Stem Cells Int. 2021 Apr 29;2021:5566872. Review.

Note: From the abstract: “This review will focus on current knowledge on the impact of the microgravity environment on cancer cells, stem cells, and the biological behavior of cancer stem cells.” This article may be obtained online without charge.

Liu B, Ma H, Li F, Wang J, Xiao Y, Zhu Y, Deng J, Sun H, Sun J.

[Simulation analysis of dynamic responses of crew under typical lunar reentry overload.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):95-101. Chinese.

Note: From the abstract: “Objective: To investigate the effect of posture on the dynamic response of human body during spacecraft skip reentry from the lunar orbit, and to determine the displacement and deformation of human internal organs, thus provide basis for the crew posture setting in the return capsule.”

Li J, Li F, Zhang M, Li J, Zhang Y, Zhou J, Dong L.

[Hippocampal neuronal degeneration involved in cognitive impairment induced by simulated weightlessness in rats.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):122-27. Chinese.

Note: Hindlimb unloading study. From the abstract: “The Morris water maze test was performed to assess the cognitive function of rats. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining, Nissl staining, Fluoro-Jade B (FJB) staining and TUNEL staining were applied to observe the neuron morphology, degeneration and apoptosis in hippocampus.”

Wu Q, Zhang X, Wang D, Yang H.

[Research progress in effects of simulated weightlessness on emotion and cognition of rodents and mitigating measures.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):183-88. Chinese.

Note: Hindlimb unloading study. From the abstract: “The effects and related mechanisms of simulated weightlessness on the emotional and cognitive functions of rodents were reviewed in this paper, including the changes of neurotransmitters and brain-derived neurotrophic factors, the cerebral oxidative stress injury, the cerebral vascular lesions, the brain cell hypoxia and the inflammatory response.”

Yan B, Gao Z, Zhou Q, Sun P, Wang Q, Yu M, Yi L, Wang Y, Wang Y, Qiang L, Liu Y, Deng L.

[Effect of long-time simulated flight on EMG of pelvic relevant muscles and subjective pain level of low back.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):110-16. Chinese.

Note: From the abstract: “Objective: To test the hypothesis that the long-time simulated flight induced low back pain may be caused by the muscle imbalance of pelvic relevant muscles, the effect of simulated long-time flight on the EMG of pelvic relevant muscles and the subjective pain level of the low back were observed so as to provide experiment data support for the prevention and treatment of long-time flight induced low back pain in pilots.”

Zhang Y, Pang R, Kang J, Ma T, Wang N, Liu H.

[Noninvasive evaluation of intracranial pressure based on ultrasound measurement of subarachnoid space area of optic nerve.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):117-21. Chinese.

Note: From the abstract: “The measurement of area of optic nerve subarachnoid by ultrasonography can predict elevated intracranial pressure, which provides a possible and effective method to study the mechanism of visual impairment and intracranial pressure in space environment.”

Liu L, Zhang L, Ma Q, Ai W, Hu W, Wu Z.

[An overview of urine brine processing in Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and analysis of technology selection.]

Space Med Med Eng. 2021;2021(2):173-82. Chinese.

Note: From the abstract: “Physical-chemical technology is used in the environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) of the International Space Station (ISS) to realize the water recycling. During the process, part of the water will enter into the urine brine produced by urine distillation and thus cannot be recycled. Techniques that are capable of extracting water from urine brine would enhance the level of total water recovery, and therefore lower the frequency and cost of supply from the Earth. The urine brine processing techniques focusing on water recovery was comprehensively reviewed in this paper.”

Gao X, Wang S, Zhang J, Wang S, Bai F, Liang J, Wu J, Wang H, Gao Y, Chang H.

Differential bone remodeling mechanism in hindlimb unloaded rats and hibernating Daurian ground squirrels: A comparison between artificial and natural disuse.

J Comp Physiol B. 2021;May 18. Online ahead of print.

Note: Hindlimb unloading study.

Cohen JN, Slysz JT, King TJ, Coates AM, King RT, Burr JF.

Blood flow restriction in the presence or absence of muscle contractions does not preserve vasculature structure and function following 14-days of limb immobilization.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021 May 18. Online ahead of print.

Note: From the abstract: “Throughout a 14-day unilateral limb immobilization, we sought to preserve vascular structure and responsiveness by repeatedly activating a reactive hyperemic response via blood flow restriction (BFR) and amplifying this stimulus by combining BFR with electric muscle stimulation (EMS).”

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.