Microgravity interferes with numerous lymphocyte functions (expression of cell surface molecules, locomotion, polyclonal and antigen-specific activation, and the protein kinase C activity in signal transduction). The latter suggests that gravity may also affect programmed cell death (PCD) in lymphocyte populations. To test this hypothesis, we investigated spontaneous, activation- and radiation-induced PCD in peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to modeled microgravity (MMG) using a rotating cell culture system. The results showed significant inhibition of radiation- and activation-induced apoptosis in MMG and provide insights into the potential mechanisms of this phenomenon.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2