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Impact of Space Radiation on Cognition, Synapses and Biomarkers in Aging and Alzheimer's Disease (NNX14AI07G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Radiation health
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mouse

The goal of this work was to identify early and late effects of space radiation on the connections between nerve cells in the brain (i.e., synapses), inflammation, and cognition so that one can assess the central nervous system (CNS) risk to future astronauts involved in long-duration lunar missions and/or a mission to Mars. These early changes, along with changes in brain inflammation that may relay signals between cells in the brain and blood flow, may help define those individuals at risk for developing long-term learning and memory problems.

This study had the following specific aims:

  1. Determine the gender-specific early and late effects of space radiation on cognition, synaptic changes, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis, cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neuroinflammation (GE180 PET) in a well-characterized Alzheimer’s Tg mouse model bearing 2 familial mutations (APPswe and PS1dE9) associated with early-onset AD, and strain-, age- and gender-matched C57BL/6 WT mice.
  2. Compare the effects of a single dose versus fractionated irradiation with 1000 MeV/µ 56Fe ions on cognition and locomotion, as well as changes in cerebral blood flow, brain volume, neuroinflammation, synapses, AD pathogenesis, and neuron loss.

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Radiation effects
Behavior, animal
Radiation dosage

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Brain inflammation
Brain synaptic changes
Cerebral blood flow
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Terry Hill
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 Space Radiobiology N