Effect of gravity on monocyte differentiation millie

Hughes Fulford, Tammy T. Chang, Chai-Fei Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Early space flight experiments have shown that microgravity suppresses the immune response in humans,especially in T- cells activation and monocyte differentiation. Protein Kinase C (PKC) is a key protein controlling growth and differentiation of monocytes into macrophages. Previous studies by Hatton et al.showed that the distribution, cellular quantity and kinetics of translocation of PKC are altered in microgravity. We have conducted studies of PKC activation using phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu) under normal and altered gravity on our PKINASE experiment on ISS. Examination of differentiation of monocytes under real microgravity and normal gravity show significant changes in the molecular function gene expression during early signalling as well as in expression of differentiation of the monocyte. PDBu causes differentiation of the monocyte and results in adhesion of the cells within 24 hours. Cumulatively, these results suggest that activation of early signal transduction is regulated in part by gravity. In true microgravity (?g) we see significant changes in gene expression of the monocyte between activation of the ?g samples and the 1g in-flight samples. These changes in gene expression suggest a role of gravity in regulation of immune function in human monoctytes. (Supported by NASA NCC 2-1361 and many thanks to the teams of ESA, ESTEC, ESA-Moscow, IBMP, Baikonur labs and the Cosmonauts for making this experiment possible).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Symposium Life in Space for Life on Earth
Volume663 SP
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventLife in Space for Life on Earth - Angers, France
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jul 27 2008


OtherLife in Space for Life on Earth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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