Exposure of volunteers to microgravity by dry immersion bed over 21 days results in gene expression changes and adaptation of T cells

Sci Adv. 2023 Aug 25;9(34):eadg1610. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adg1610. Epub 2023 Aug 25.


The next steps of deep space exploration are manned missions to Moon and Mars. For safe space missions for crew members, it is important to understand the impact of space flight on the immune system. We studied the effects of 21 days dry immersion (DI) exposure on the transcriptomes of T cells isolated from blood samples of eight healthy volunteers. Samples were collected 7 days before DI, at day 7, 14, and 21 during DI, and 7 days after DI. RNA sequencing of CD3+ T cells revealed transcriptional alterations across all time points, with most changes occurring 14 days after DI exposure. At day 21, T cells showed evidence of adaptation with a transcriptional profile resembling that of 7 days before DI. At 7 days after DI, T cells again changed their transcriptional profile. These data suggest that T cells adapt by rewiring their transcriptomes in response to simulated weightlessness and that remodeling cues persist when reexposed to normal gravity.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Transcriptome
  • Volunteers
  • Weightlessness* / adverse effects