Several crewmembers who have flown on space missions to the International Space Station have developed ophthalmic issues. This investigation evaluates genetic differences that affect enzymes in a key biochemical pathway, referred to as the “one-carbon metabolism” pathway, causing the enzymes to be less effective. This study expands upon the “One Carbon Metabolism Study” which examined five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their association with a genetic predisposition for ophthalmologic issues among crewmembers. This follow-on study evaluates a wider range of SNPs to further clarify the genetic relationship to ophthalmic findings and ultimately provide a means to prevent or treat these issues in astronauts. This study recruits crewmembers who have flown long-duration missions on the International Space Station (ISS) and those who flew on one of the last three Space Shuttle missions.
- The primary aim is to obtain data from the 85 main genes from the total of 523 SNPs tied to one-carbon metabolism and combine findings with the existing vision and medical data available.
- The secondary aim is to gather and relate ethnicity data to the extent its predictive of ophthalmic problems generated during space missions.
- The third aim is to evaluate data from the initial and this follow-on one carbon study, to determine the mechanism that causes some individuals to be susceptible to these ophthalmic changes, and to determine treatment and prevention of these changes in crewmembers.
The research from this study has broad implications in understanding the effect of genetic influences on the one-carbon metabolism pathway, as well as in the treatment and prevention of vision and other related diseases in the general population.
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Data will be gathered from crew that have flown on long-duration missions onboard ISS and the last three Space Shuttle missions. The blood drawn from subjects will be analyzed per the main 85 genes associated with one-carbon metabolism with additional analyses performed on VO2
heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output and vascular stroke volume data collected.
A questionnaire will be used to gather ethnicity data to determine if genetic/ophthalmic issues for long-duration space missions can be predicted.
This study is in progress. Results will be updated when available.