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Neurobehavioral and CNS-Related Physiological Changes Following Space Radiation (NNX15AC71G)
Research Area:
Radiation biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus Species: Rat Strain: Long-Evans, Hooded

Assessing the biological consequences of living in the space radiation environment represents one of the highest priority areas of NASA research. Of critical importance is the need for an assessment of the vulnerabilities of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to functional neurobehavioral changes during long-term space missions, and the development of effective countermeasures to such risks. The present proposal addresses this need via the application of an animal model to:

1) monitor indices of circadian function (i.e., spontaneous locomotor activity, body temperature) over various time points following irradiation;
2) determine the degree to which changes in circadian function are correlated with the severity of behavioral deficits in a rat psychomotor vigilance task; and
3) examine the underlying neurochemical alterations that accompany these radiation-induced changes in circadian function and neurobehavioral performance.

Prior research has 1) identified rats that are sensitive to radiation-induced deficits in neurobehavioral function; 2) identified changes in the dopamine neurotransmitter systems of these radiation-sensitive rats; and 3) identified an increased inflammatory response in the brain from 1-14 days post-irradiation.

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

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
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Helen Stewart
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N