Cytokine responses

The cytokine network is influenced by space flight, with changes being observed in preliminary, exploratory studies of the production and activity of interferons, interleukins, colony stimulating factors and tumor necrosis factor. After long flights, lymphocytic production of IL-2 and interferon was significantly decreased in both humans and rodents. In contrast, human lymphocyte cultures produced interferon more intensely during shorter spaceflights, but responded poorly to concanavalin A stimulation. In addition, the ability of cultured human postflight lymphocytes to express surface IL-2 receptors was blunted, but this expression could be restored by a protein kinase C-activating phorbol ester. Lymphocytes of rats flown on a 10 day space mission showed a decrease in IL-2 production in response to a T cell receptor-independent mitogen, bur not to receptor-dependent mitogens. Lymphocyte-produced interferon, but not IL-3 production, was reduced in rats after 6 days in space.

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