Study of Fruit Flies’ Immunity can Help Avoid Weaker Immunity on Space Flights

by Kathy Jones on  July 4, 2014 at 9:59 PM Research News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment
Font : A-A+

Researchers led by Deborah Kimbrell from the University of California, Davis have shed new light on how microorganisms alter fruit flies' immunity in space and in hypergravity, or increased gravity, a new study published in the journal Drosophila reveals.
 Study of Fruit Flies’ Immunity can Help Avoid Weaker Immunity on Space Flights
Study of Fruit Flies’ Immunity can Help Avoid Weaker Immunity on Space Flights

This study suggests that having normal gravity or hypergravity on the space station may help mitigate some of the biological problems, including weakened immune response, in organisms living in space. Since fruit flies have similar immune response mechanisms to humans, this knowledge may help NASA create specialized counter measures to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space missions to an asteroid or Mars.

Knowledge that spaceflight weakens the human immune system obtained from years of research in microgravity has led scientists to use model organisms similar to humans to test out various scenarios of disease or weakened immunity in spaceflight. Model organisms, such as plants, fruit flies or microbes like yeast, advance our understanding of the influence of microgravity on cells. Taking these organisms to space allows for examination of growth and development and physiological, psychological and aging processes without the impact of gravity.

"What we don't realize in our everyday lives is that every biological, chemical and physical process that takes place in our terrestrial environment of Earth happens under the influence of gravitational forces," explained Camille Alleyne, Ed.D., space station assistant program scientist at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "Conducting scientific investigations on the space station, such as that on the fruit flies, allows us to remove that gravitational element from the equation, and advances our knowledge about these same processes that lead to amazing breakthroughs and discoveries."

Drosophila melanogaster - the common fruit fly - was used in this study, due to its similar human immune function qualities, sharing characteristics of cellular and humoral, or extracellular fluids, immunity and signaling pathways. The fruit fly makes such a great model, in fact, that NASA developed a new Fruit Fly Lab in 2014 to accommodate continued study of Drosophila. This facility will support longer duration studies involving multiple generations of fruit flies.



Source: Eurekalert

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Related Links

More News on:

Why Do We Eat - Nutrition Facts Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Myasthenia Gravis The Acid-Alkaline balance, Diet and Health Nails - Health and Disease Fruits to Help Lower Blood Pressure Blood Group Diet Health benefits of bananas Fruitarian Diet Papaya 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook

News Category

News Archive