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Human Lymphocyte Locomotion in Microgravity (DSO 322)
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology

Understanding the movement of white blood cells (leukocytes) is a vital step for cancer researchers to determine how to help lemphocytes penetrate tissue to kill tumors. This is important because the lymphocytes fight cancers and all types of infection by moving into the diseased area. In the case of cancer, however; researchers have discovered that the closer a lymphocyte gets to a tumor, the more impaired its movement is.

The impact of long-term weightlessness on immunity has been revealed in extended manned space flights. This investigation (a) provided data which illuminates microgravity effects on locomotion and migration of human lymphocytes through an intercellular matrix, a function that is crucial to immunocompetence, (b) tested the adequacy of the Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV), a laboratory-based microgravity simulation environment developed by NASA, and (c) verified the Specimen Temperature Controller which is necessary to control the thermal environment of the living cells inflight. Analysis of in-flight data was performed in the Biotechnology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.

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Pellis NR, Goodwin TJ, Risin D, McIntyre BW, Pizzini RP, Cooper D, Baker TL, and Spaulding GF. Changes in gravity inhibit lymphocyte locomotion through type I collagen. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, Animal. 1997. May; 33(5):398-405.[]

Sundaresan A, Risin D, Pellis NR, and McIntire LV. Loss of signal transduction and inhibition of lymphocyte locomotion. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, Animal. 2002. February; 38(2):118-122. []

Signal transduction

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. All data sets are on the Web site.
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-54 01/13/1993 01/19/1993 6 days
STS-56 04/08/1993 04/17/1993 9 days
STS-62 03/04/1994 03/18/1994 14 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)