Space travel is wonderful? But your gut may not stand it

As we all know, the human intestine is filled with a huge number of microorganisms. They rely on human intestinal life and help the host complete a variety of physiological functions. As the human’s largest immune organ, the interaction between intestinal microorganisms and the host on the surface of the intestinal mucosa promotes the establishment and development of the immune system and becomes an important immune barrier for the human body.

In addition to the microbes of the intestine itself, humans consume different microbes through food every day. The inner wall of the human intestinal tract can prevent harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses that enter the body with food from invading other parts of the body and protect humans. But recent research shows that staying in a microgravity environment can weaken the barrier formed by the intestinal epithelium.

Declan McCole, a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside, said: “Our research findings not only give us a deeper understanding of the impact of space travel on astronauts’ intestinal function but also understand that impaired intestinal barrier function What impact will the astronauts of the planet have. ”

In fact, staying in space for a long time can have many negative effects on the health of astronauts. In a microgravity environment, muscles and bones decline, and immune system function is impaired. Previous studies have shown that living in space for a long time can affect human vision and brain gray matter, and also increase astronauts’ sensitivity to foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella.

“Our research shows for the first time that microgravity conditions make epithelial cells more resistant to the effects of a factor that weakens their barrier function. Importantly, we have observed that this defect remains after leaving the microgravity environment14 day.”

It is well known that alcohol increases gastrointestinal permeability, so in the study, scientists observed the effect of an alcohol metabolite, acetaldehyde, on intestinal epithelial cells under normal and microgravity conditions.

Researchers place epithelial cells in a walled bioreactor that allows the cells to precisely rotate to simulate weightlessness. After 18 days, epithelial cells failed to form what scientists call “tight junctions,” the kind of impermeable connections between cells. And after removing them from the instrument, it is difficult for these cells to form a normal tight junction pattern within the next 14 days.

“Our study investigates for the first time whether changes in the barrier function of epithelial cells in a simulated microgravity environment will continue over time. Our research provides valuable information for long-term space travel and space colonization Message: Exposure to foodborne pathogens in space can cause more serious diseases than on Earth. “

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