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BMC Med Genomics. 2019 Mar 13;12(Suppl 2):45. doi: 10.1186/s12920-019-0490-y.

The molecular mechanisms driving physiological changes after long duration space flights revealed by quantitative analysis of human blood proteins.

Author information

Institute for Biomedical Problems - Russian Federation State Scientific Research Center of RAS, Moscow, Russia.
Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.
Institute for Biomedical Problems - Russian Federation State Scientific Research Center of RAS, Moscow, Russia.
Yu.A.Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Moscow Region, Russia.
Institute of Cytology and Genetics of SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia.
V.L. Talrose Institute for Energy Problems of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, Moscow region, Russia.
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Skoltech, Moscow region, Russia.



The conditions of space flight have a significant effect on the physiological processes in the human body, yet the molecular mechanisms driving physiological changes remain unknown.


Blood samples of 18 Russian cosmonauts who had conducted long-duration missions to the International Space Station were collected 30 days before launch and on the first and seventh days after landing.


A panel of 125 proteins in the blood plasma was quantitated by a well-established and highly regarded targeted mass spectrometry approach. This method involves the monitoring of multiple reactions in conjunction with stable isotope-labeled standards at the University of Victoria - Genome BC Proteomics Centre.


Reduction of circulating plasma volume during space flight and activation of fluid retention at the final stage of the flight affect the changes in plasma protein concentrations present in the first days after landing. Using an ANOVA approach, it was revealed that only 1 protein (S100A9) reliably responded to space flight conditions. This protein plays an important role in the functioning of the endothelium and can serve as a marker for activation of inflammatory reactions. Concentrations of the proteins of complement, coagulation cascades, and acute phase reactants increase in the blood of cosmonauts as measured the first day after landing. Most of these proteins' concentrations continue to increase by the 7th day after space flight. Similar dynamics are observed for proteases and their inhibitors. Thus, there is a shift in proteolytic blood systems, which is necessary for the restoration of muscle tissue and maintenance of oncotic homeostasis.


Blood proteins; Cosmonauts; Mass spectrometry

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