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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of spaceflight and PEG-IL-2 on rat physiological and immunological responses.

Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to two 8-day spaceflights on the space shuttle. Rats housed in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's animal enclosure were injected (iv or sc) with pegylated interleukin-2 (PEG-IL-2) or a placebo. We tested the hypothesis that PEG-IL-2 would ameliorate some of the effects of spaceflight. We measured body and organ weights; blood cell differentials; plasma corticosterone; colony-forming units (macrophage and granulocyte macrophage); lymphocyte mitogenic, superantigenic, and interferon-gamma responses; bone marrow cell and peritoneal macrophage cytokine secretion; and bone strength and mass. Few immunological parameters were affected by spaceflight. However, some spaceflight effects were observed in each flight. Specifically, peritoneal macrophage spontaneous secretion of tumor necrosis factor-alpha occurred in the first but not in the second flight. A significant monocytopenia and lymphocytopenia were detected in the second but not in the first flight. The second mission produced bone changes more consistent with past spaceflight investigations. PEG-IL-2 did not appear to be beneficial; however, this was mostly due to the lack of spaceflight effects. These studies reflect the difficulty in reproducing experimental models by using current space shuttle conditions.[1]


  1. Effects of spaceflight and PEG-IL-2 on rat physiological and immunological responses. Chapes, S.K., Simske, S.J., Sonnenfeld, G., Miller, E.S., Zimmerman, R.J. J. Appl. Physiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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