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Birlea M.,Aurora University | Cohrs R.J.,Aurora University | Bos N.,Aurora University | Mehta S.K.,Enterprise Advisory Services | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology | Year: 2014

All neurological and ocular complications of varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation can occur without rash. Virological verification requires detection of VZV DNA or anti-VZV IgG antibody in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or anti-VZV IgM antibody in serum or CSF. If VZV were readily detected in other tissue in patients with neurological disease without rash and found to correlate with tests listed above, more invasive tests such as lumbar puncture might be obviated. Saliva is a potential source of VZV DNA. To study the potential diagnostic value of detecting VZV DNA in saliva from patients with neurological disease, saliva of healthy adults was searched for VZV DNA. A single saliva sample obtained by passive drool was centrifuged at 16,000g for 20min. DNA was extracted from the supernatant and cell pellet and examined in triplicate for VZV DNA by real time PCR. A single random saliva sample from 80 healthy men and women aged 20-59 years revealed no VZV DNA (Table), but was uniformly positive for cell (GAPdH) DNA. Because VZV DNA was not found in a random saliva sample from 80 individuals 20-59-year-old, a VZV-positive sample during neurologic disease may have potential significance. Further studies will determine whether VZV DNA in saliva correlates with VZV DNA or anti-VZV antibody in CSF in patients with neurological disease. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Zwart S.R.,Universities Space Research Association | Booth S.L.,Tufts University | Peterson J.W.,Tufts University | Wang Z.,Enterprise Advisory Services | Smith S.M.,NASA
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | Year: 2011

Bone loss is a well-documented change during and after long-duration spaceflight. Many types of countermeasures to bone loss have been proposed, including vitamin K supplementation. The objective of this series of studies was to measure change in vitamin K status in response to microgravity under a variety of spaceflight and spaceflight analog (model) conditions, including long-duration spaceflight studies (n = 15), three bed rest studies (n = 15, 49, and 24), and a 14-day saturation dive (n = 6). In crew members who flew 2-6 months on the International Space Station, in-flight and postflight plasma phylloquinone concentrations were unchanged from the preflight mean. Consistent with this finding, urinary Î-carboxyglutamic acid (GLA), a measure of vitamin K-dependent protein turnover, did not change in response to flight. Serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%ucOC), a measure of vitamin K function, was generally unchanged in response to flight. Spaceflight findings were corroborated by findings of no changes in phylloquinone, urinary GLA, or %ucOC during or after bed rest in three separate bed rest studies (21-90 days in duration) or after a 14-day saturation dive. The data presented here do not support either a need for vitamin K supplementation during spaceflight or the suggestion of using vitamin K as a bone loss countermeasure in spaceflight. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


As the provision of potable water is critical for successful habitation of the International Space Station (ISS), life support systems were installed in December 2008 to recycle both humidity from the atmosphere and urine to conserve available water in the Station. In-flight pre-consumption testing from the dispensing needle at the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) indicated that bacterial concentrations exceeded the current ISS specifications of 50 colony-forming units (CFU) ml(-1). Subsequent investigations revealed that a corrugated stainless steel flex hose upstream of the dispensing needle in the PWD was filled with nonsterile water and left at room temperature for more than 1 month before launch. To simulate biofilm formation that was suspected in the flight system, sterile flex hoses were seeded with a consortium of bacterial isolates previously recovered from other ISS water systems, including Ralstonia pickettii, Burkholderia multivorans, Caulobacter vibrioides, and Cupriavidus pauculus. After incubation for 5 days, the hoses were challenged with various chemical disinfectants including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), colloidal silver, and buffered pH solutions to determine the ability of the disinfectants to decrease and maintain bacterial concentrations below ISS specifications. The disinfection efficacy over time was measured by collecting daily heterotrophic plate counts after exposure to the disinfectants. A single flush with either 6% H2O2 solution or a mixture of 3% H2O2 and 400 ppb colloidal silver effectively reduced the bacterial concentrations to <1 CFU ml(-1) for a period of up to 3 months.


Zwart S.R.,Universities Space Research Association | Pierson D.,NASA | Mehta S.,Enterprise Advisory Services | Gonda S.,NASA | Smith S.M.,NASA
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | Year: 2010

NF-κB is a transcriptional activator of many genes, including some that lead to muscle atrophy and bone resorption - significant concerns for astronauts. NF-κB activation is inhibited by eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), but the influence of this omega-3 fatty acid on the effects of weightlessness are unknown. We report here cellular, ground analogue, and spaceflight findings. We investigated the effects of EPA on differentiation of RAW264.7 monocyte/macrophage cells induced by receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and on activation of NF-κB by tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) or exposure to modeled weightlessness. EPA (50 μM for 24 hours) inhibited RANKL-induced differentiation and decreased activation of NF-κB induced by 0.2 μg/mL of TNF-α for 30 minutes or by modeled weightlessness for 24 hours (p<.05). In human studies, we evaluated whether NF-κB activation was altered after short-duration spaceflight and determined the relationship between intake of omega-3 fatty acids and markers of bone resorption during bed rest and the relationship between fish intake and bone mineral density after long-duration spaceflight. NF-κB was elevated in crew members after short-duration spaceflight, and higher consumption of fish (a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with reduced loss of bone mineral density after flight (p<.05). Also supporting the cell study findings, a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with less N-telopeptide excretion during bed rest (Pearson r=-0.62, p<.05). Together these data provide mechanistic cellular and preliminary human evidence of the potential for EPA to counteract bone loss associated with spaceflight. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. 2010 ASBMR.


Crucian B.,NASA | Stowe R.,Microgen Laboratories | Mehta S.,Enterprise Advisory Services | Uchakin P.,Mercer University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Immunology | Year: 2013

Background: Post-flight data suggests immunity is dysregulated immediately following spaceflight, however this data may be influenced by the stress effects of high-G entry and readaptation to terrestrial gravity. It is unknown if immunity is altered during spaceflight. Methods: Blood samples were collected from 19 US Astronauts onboard the Space Shuttle ~24 h prior to landing and returned for terrestrial analysis. Assays consisted of leukocyte distribution, T cell blastogenesis and cytokine production profiles. Results: Most bulk leukocyte subsets (WBC, differential, lymphocyte subsets) were unaltered during spaceflight, but were altered following landing. CD8+ T cell subsets, including cytotoxic, central memory and senescent were altered during spaceflight. T cell early blastogenesis varied by culture mitogen. Functional responses to staphylococcal enterotoxin were reduced during and following spaceflight, whereas response to anti-CD3/28 antibodies was elevated post-flight. The level of virus specific T cells were generally unaltered, however virus specific T cell function was depressed both during and following flight. Plasma levels of IFNα, IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, and TNFα were significantly elevated in-flight, while IL-6 was significantly elevated at R+0. Cytokine production profiles following mitogenic stimulation were significantly altered both during, and following spaceflight. Specifically, production of IFNγ, IL-17 and IL-10 were reduced, but production of TNFα and IL-8 were elevated during spaceflight. Conclusions: This study indicates that specific parameters among leukocyte distribution, T cell function and cytokine production profiles are altered during flight. These findings distinguish in-flight dysregulation from stress-related alterations observed immediately following landing.

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