Studies of peripheral blood lymphocytes from astronauts indicate that microgravity depresses T-cell responsiveness. However, this effect has not been examined in cells of peripheral lymphatic tissue, where most lymphocytes are located. In this study, inguinal lymph node lymphocytes from rats flown on the COSMOS 2044 mission were tested for proliferation and interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Cells cultured with mitogenic lectins, phorbol ester, and calcium ionophore, or T-cell mitogen and lymphokine, were assayed for DNA synthesis by [3H]thymidine incorporation. Lymphocytes incubated with a T- cell mitogen alone also were tested for IL-2 production. Proliferation of lymphocytes from flight rats was not significantly different from controls for any of the mitogens tested. Furthermore, lymph node lymphocytes from control and flown rats produced similar amounts of IL-2. Thus microgravity may act on lymphocytes in a tissue-specific manner, a new finding that could impact on the evaluation of spaceflight effects on immunocompetence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)