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Yi, Buqing; Rykova, Marina; Jaeger, Gundula; Feuerecker, Matthias; Hoerl, Marion; Matzel, Sandra; Ponomarev, Sergey; Vassilieva, Galina; Nichiporuk, Igor and Chouker, Alexander (2015): Influences of large sets of environmental exposures on immune responses in healthy adult men. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, 13367 [PDF, 368kB]


Environmental factors have long been known to influence immune responses. In particular, clinical studies about the association between migration and increased risk of atopy/asthma have provided important information on the role of migration associated large sets of environmental exposures in the development of allergic diseases. However, investigations about environmental effects on immune responses are mostly limited in candidate environmental exposures, such as air pollution. The influences of large sets of environmental exposures on immune responses are still largely unknown. A simulated 520-d Mars mission provided an opportunity to investigate this topic. Six healthy males lived in a closed habitat simulating a spacecraft for 520 days. When they exited their "spacecraft" after the mission, the scenario was similar to that of migration, involving exposure to a new set of environmental pollutants and allergens. We measured multiple immune parameters with blood samples at chosen time points after the mission. At the early adaptation stage, highly enhanced cytokine responses were observed upon ex vivo antigen stimulations. For cell population frequencies, we found the subjects displayed increased neutrophils. These results may presumably represent the immune changes occurred in healthy humans when migrating, indicating that large sets of environmental exposures may trigger aberrant immune activity.

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