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A Determination of Bioactive Proteins Secreted by the Human Vasculature in Response to Low Dose Space Radiation (80NSSC18K1492)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Radiation biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Species: Human, cells

The purpose of this study is to determine the proteins that are potentially released into the blood stream by the lining of the human vasculature in response to exposure to space radiation. This would create a useful database for radiobiology studies and comparisons with the proteins secreted in astronaut blood. Such proteins have the potential to cause pathological processes such as inflammation, they are also spread around the body in the blood, and are important factors in many pathologies. The microvasculature permeates all tissues at the microscopic level so the whole body is a target for charged particles. A single heavy ion particle would be expected to traverse many micro-vessels as it passes through the body causing a more widespread response. Studies on the effect of different charged particles on human 3D microvessel models shows that both developing and mature microvessels lose structure and function after exposure to very low doses of various charged particles.

Mature microvessels lose structure detectible as low as 1.25cGy. Angiogenesis, the growth of new vessels, is inhibited by light ions and heavy ions detectible at 1.25cGy. Even more striking, the combined effect of each ion has a synergistic effect detectible as low as 0.6 cGy. The low fluence of these doses indicates a bystander effect where the response is transmitted to other cells and such a mechanism would involve the secretion of molecules by the target cell. The investigators aim to use proteomics and other techniques to determine the proteins secreted by the human microvessel models. A database of these proteins secreted by human tissue models would not only be of great use to a number of researchers investigating a diverse number of pathologies related to space radiation but also provide insights into the mechanisms of the vascular response to charged particles.

This study has the following specific aims:

  1. Identify the proteins secreted by the endothelial cells during angiogenesis and in mature human three dimensional (3D) microvessel tissue models in response to radiation.
  2. 1a. Identify proteins secreted by developing microvessels in response to a mixture of low and high linear energy transfer (LET) charged particles. 1b. Identify proteins secreted by mature microvessels in response to low doses of heavy ions.

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Radiation effects
Linear energy transfer (LET)
Tissue culture

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Cell adhesion molecules
Differential gene expression
Immune response molecules
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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
2018 HERO 80JSC018N0001-Crew Health and Performance (FLAGSHIP, OMNIBUS). Appendix A-Flagship, Appendix B-Omnibus