Changes in mitochondrial homeostasis and redox status in astronauts following long stays in space

Hiroko P. Indo, Hideyuki J. Majima, Masahiro Terada, Shigeaki Suenaga, Kazuo Tomita, Shin Yamada, Akira Higashibata, Noriaki Ishioka, Takuro Kanekura, Ikuya Nonaka, Clare L. Hawkins, Michael J. Davies, Daret K.St Clair, Chiaki Mukai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The effects of long-term exposure to extreme space conditions on astronauts were investigated by analyzing hair samples from ten astronauts who had spent six months on the International Space Station (ISS). Two samples were collected before, during and after their stays in the ISS; hereafter, referred to as Preflight, Inflight and Postflight, respectively. The ratios of mitochondrial (mt) to nuclear (n) DNA and mtRNA to nRNA were analyzed via quantitative PCR. The combined data of Preflight, Inflight and Postflight show a significant reduction in the mtDNA/nDNA in Inflight, and significant reductions in the mtRNA/nRNA ratios in both the Inflight and Postflight samples. The mtRNA/mtDNA ratios were relatively constant, except in the Postflight samples. Using the same samples, the expression of redox and signal transduction related genes, MnSOD, CuZnSOD, Nrf2, Keap1, GPx4 and Catalase was also examined. The results of the combined data from Preflight, Inflight and Postflight show a significant decrease in the expression of all of the redox-related genes in the samples collected Postflight, with the exception of Catalase, which show no change. This decreased expression may contribute to increased oxidative stress Inflight resulting in the mitochondrial damage that is apparent Postflight.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39015
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the JAXA-ISS Space Medicine Program Grant from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The authors gratefully thank the astronaut who took part in this study, especially Dr. Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA who provided encouragement to complete this study, and Professor John Tremarco of Kagoshima University for his help and guidance during the preparation of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
Ethics Statement. This study was carried out in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Committee on Human Care and Use by the NASA and JAXA Ethical Review Board and the Human Research Multilateral Review Board (HRMRB). All participants provided written informed consent.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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