Prolonged exposure to simulated microgravity diminishes dendritic cell immunogenicity

Nichole Tackett, Jillian H. Bradley, Emily K. Moore, Stefanie H. Baker, Stephanie L. Minter, Brian DiGiacinto, Jennifer P. Arnold, Randal K. Gregg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Immune dysfunction due to microgravity remains a hurdle in the next step of human space exploration. Dendritic cells (DC) represent a critical component of immunity, given their role in the detection of invaders and the subsequent task of activating T cells to respond and eliminate the threat. Upon encounter with microbes, DC undergo a process of maturation, whereby the cells upregulate the expression of surface proteins and secrete cytokines, both required for the optimal activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In this study, DC were cultured from 2–14 days in a rotary cell culture system, which generates a simulated microgravity (SMG) environment, and then the cells were assessed for maturation status and the capacity to activate T cells. Short-term culture (<72 h) of DC in SMG resulted in an increased expression of surface proteins associated with maturation and interleukin-6 production. Subsequently, the SMG exposed DC were superior to Static control DC at activating both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as measured by interleukin-2 and interferon-γ production, respectively. However, long-term culture (4–14 d) of DC in SMG reduced the expression of maturation markers and the capacity to activate T cells as compared to Static DC controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13825
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Prolonged exposure to simulated microgravity diminishes dendritic cell immunogenicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this