Use of bed rest and head-down tilt to simulate spaceflight-induced immune system changes

Didier A. Schmitt, Laurance Schaffar, Gerald R. Taylor, Karin C. Loftin, Victor S. Schneider, Anne Koebel, Michel Abbal, Gerald Sonnenfeld, Dorothy E. Lewis, James R. Reuben, Robert Ferebee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Bed rest, both with and without head-down tilt, has been extensively used as an earth-bound analog to study physiologic effects mimicking those occurring in weightlessness during spaceflight. We have been able to show in six subjects that 4 weeks of head-down tilt bed rest induces a significant decrease in interleukin-2 secretion by PHA-stimulated T lymphocytes. Another study, lasting 113 days, with two subjects showed a decreased interleukin-2 receptor expression in PHA-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells but a decreased interleukin-2 production in one subject only. Under the same conditions, interleukin-1 production was largely increased in both subjects. Several other immune parameters were also analyzed. Increased interleukin-1 production could contribute to bone mineral loss encountered during bed rest and decreased interleukin-2 secretion could play a role in the appearance of infectious diseases often observed during bed red.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Virology


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