Space Flight Model Links Aging, Osteoporosis and Immunity

Dr. Jean-Pol Frippiat Stress, Immunity and Pathogens Laboratory at Lorraine University Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, FranceMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jean-Pol Frippiat
Stress, Immunity and Pathogens Laboratory
Lorraine University
Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France 


What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Frippiat: Osteoporosis is associated to spaceflight. Consequently, we wondered whether changes in bone micro-structure induced by a ground-based model of spaceflight, hindlimb unloading (HU) that simulates some of the effects of spaceflight on mice, induces changes in B lymphocyte production in the bone marrow.

To this end, we analyzed both bone parameters and the frequency of cells of the B lineage in the bone marrow of young, old and HU mice. We found that HU leads to a decrease in both bone micro-structure and the frequency of B cell progenitors in the bone marrow. A major block at the pro-B to pre-B cell transition was observed indicating a decrease in the formation of B cells in the bone marrow. Interestingly, the modifications in B cell production were similar to those observed in aged mice.

These findings demonstrate that mechanical unloading, to which astronauts are subjected during spaceflight, results in a decrease in B cell differentiation that resemble age-related modifications in B lymphopoiesis.

What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Frippiat: The thing to remember is that a change in bone structure, due to microgravity in space or inactivity, aging or bed-rest for medical reasons on Earth, can have serious consequences on the immune system, as immune cells are produced in bones, thereby potentially compromising host defenses. Physical activity is a good option to avoid these problems.

What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Frippiat: This study shows that the ground-based model of spacefligth used here (HU) could be interesting to improve our understanding of the relationship between bone remodeling and B cell production in the bones, both in the context of spaceflight and normal aging on Earth.

Citation: 

Chloé Lescale, Véronique Schenten, Dounia Djeghloul, Meriem Bennabi, Fanny Gaignier, Katleen Vandamme, Catherine Strazielle, Isabelle Kuzniak, Hervé Petite, Christine Dosquet, Jean-Pol Frippiat, and Michele Goodhardt. Hind limb unloading, a model of spaceflight conditions, leads to decreased B lymphopoiesis similar to aging. FASEB J. February 2015 29:455-463; doi:10.1096/fj.14-259770

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jean-Pol Frippiat (2015). Space Flight Model Links Aging, Osteoporosis and Immunity MedicalReserch.com