New GeneLab Paper Studies Biological Responses to Space Radiation in Animal Studies

figure from paper

In just four weeks, GeneLab’s Multi-omics Analysis Working Group published a new paper led by Dr. Afshin Beheshti. This paper is the first to use the largest number of GeneLab datasets and the first to provide space radiation predictions of biological responses in animal studies. NASA GeneLab Platform Utilized for Biological Response to Space Radiation in Animal Models, appears in the special issue “Animal Models for Radiotherapy Research” in Cancers, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of oncology.

Ionizing radiation from galactic cosmic rays (GCR) is one of the major risks that will impact the health of astronauts on extended missions outside the protective effects of Earth’s magnetic field. NASA GeneLab has detailed information on radiation exposure using animal models with curated dosimetry information for spaceflight experiments. Twenty-five GeneLab omics datasets were analyzed, associated with both ground-based and spaceflight radiation studies that included in vivo and in vitro approaches. A range of ions from protons to iron particles with doses from 0.1 to 1.0 Gy for ground studies, as well as samples flown in low-Earth orbit with total doses of 1.0 mGy to 30 mGy, were utilized. From this analysis, GeneLab’s Multi-omics Analysis Working Group identified distinct biological signatures associating specific ions with specific biological responses due to radiation exposure in space. For example, changes in mitochondrial function, ribosomal assembly, and immune pathways as a function of dose were discovered.

This paper summarizes how GeneLab’s rich database of omics experiments with animal models can be used to generate novel hypotheses to better understand human health risks from GCR exposures: