HomeNewsSpace travel can alter gene expression in white blood cells, weakening our immune system
Space travel can alter gene expression in white blood cells, weakening our immune system
Evidence is mounting that astronauts are more susceptible to infections while in space. For example, astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) commonly suffer from skin rashes, as well as respiratory and non-respiratory diseases. Astronauts are also known to shed more live virus particles; for example, the Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster responsible for shingles, herpes-simplex-1 responsible for sores, and cytomegalovirus. These observations suggest that our immune system might be weakened by space travel. But what could cause such an immune deficit?