International Journal of Molecular Sciences – GeneLab Database Analyses Suggest Long-Term Impact of Space Radiation on the Cardiovascular System by the Activation of FYN Through Reactive Oxygen Species
Dr. Afshin Beheshti lead a team of researchers including Drs. Sylvain Costes and Jack Miller of NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Dr. Peter Grabham of Columbia University, and Dr. J. Tyson McDonald of Hampton University to demonstrate the utility of NASA’s GeneLab database. Using an unbiased systems biology approach, they interrogated three GeneLab datasets which encompassed two space radiation simulated ground studies and one in vitro spaceflight study focusing on the cardiovascular system to identify key genes/pathways driving the effects of space radiation on cardiovascular health. The following novel findings emerged from this study: 1) Space radiation causes downregulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) pathways in the cardiovascular system; 2) Astronauts and samples on the ISS are likely experiencing more proton radiation than any other type of space radiation; and 3) From the results of the study, they hypothesize that a negative feedback loop is responsible for the observed molecular changes such that the oxidative stress caused by space radiation upregulates a key driving gene called FYN, which in turn reduces ROS levels by mediating ROS-specific pathways thereby preventing cell death of cardiovascular-related cells and thus protecting the cardiovascular system. This is the first time that GeneLab datasets were utilized to provide a potentially novel mechanism for space radiation induced cardiovascular risk linking radiation ground studies to spaceflight.