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Changes in Endocrine Regulation of Orthostatic Tolerance Following Space Flight (DSO 613)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cardiovascular physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

In response to a drop in blood pressure, catecholamines (norepinephrine and epinephrine) are released from the sympathetic nerves and the adrenal gland to adjust the heart rate and peripheral resistance and thereby maintain normal blood pressure. Disruption of this response may be responsible, at least in part, for the orthostatic intolerance that astronauts frequently experience after space flight. The objective of this study was to evaluate orthostatic changes in plasma catecholamine levels and total peripheral resistance before and after space flight.

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Charles JB, Fritsch-Yelle JM, Whitson PA, Wood ML, Brown TE, Fortner GW. Cardiovascular deconditioning. In: Sawin CF, Taylor GR, Smith WL, editors. Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project final report 1989-1995. Houston: NASA Johnson Space Center, 1999:1-1--1-19.

Whitson PA, Charles JB, Fortney S, Cintron NM. DSO 613: Changes in the endocrine regulation of orthostatic tolerance during space flight. In: Results of life sciences DSOs conducted aboard the Shuttle 1991-1993. Houston: NASA Johnson Space Center, 1994:117-9.

Whitson PA, Charles JB. Williams WJ, Cintrón NM. Changes in sympathoadrenal response to standing in humans after space flight. Journal of Applied Physiology. 1995;79:428-33.[]

Adrenal glands
Autonomic nervous system
Blood pressure
Body weight
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
Data Sets+ Request data

Epinephrine - plasma
Norepinephrine - plasma
Total peripheral resistance

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-35 12/02/1990 12/11/1990 9 days
STS-37 04/05/1991 04/11/1991 6 days
STS-39 04/28/1991 05/06/1991 8 days
STS-42 01/22/1992 01/30/1992 8 days
STS-43 08/02/1991 08/11/1991 9 days
STS-44 11/24/1991 12/01/1991 7 days
STS-45 03/24/1992 04/02/1992 9 days
STS-46 07/31/1992 08/08/1992 8 days
STS-47 09/12/1992 09/19/1992 7 days
STS-48 09/12/1991 09/18/1991 5 days
STS-49 05/07/1992 05/16/1992 9 days
STS-50 06/25/1992 07/09/1992 14 days

Additional Information
Other Key People
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Hardware Items