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Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

Postal Subscription Code 80-967

2018 Impact Factor: 1.847

Front. Med.    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (2) : 202-212
Physiological effects of weightlessness: countermeasure system development for a long-term Chinese manned spaceflight
Linjie Wang(), Zhili Li, Cheng Tan, Shujuan Liu, Jianfeng Zhang, Siyang He, Peng Zou, Weibo Liu, Yinghui Li
State Key Laboratory of Space Medicine Fundamentals and Application, China Astronaut Research and Training Center, Beijing 100094, China
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The Chinese space station will be built around 2020. As a national space laboratory, it will offer unique opportunities for studying the physiological effects of weightlessness and the efficacy of the countermeasures against such effects. In this paper, we described the development of countermeasure systems in the Chinese space program. To emphasize the need of the Chinese space program to implement its own program for developing countermeasures, we reviewed the literature on the negative physiological effects of weightlessness, the challenges of completing missions, the development of countermeasure devices, the establishment of countermeasure programs, and the efficacy of the countermeasure techniques in American and Russian manned spaceflights. In addition, a brief overview was provided on the Chinese research and development on countermeasures to discuss the current status and goals of the development of countermeasures against physiological problems associated with weightlessness.

Keywords countermeasure      physiological effects of weightlessness      effect evaluation      long-term manned spaceflight     
Corresponding Authors: Linjie Wang   
Just Accepted Date: 25 January 2018   Online First Date: 25 April 2018    Issue Date: 28 March 2019
 Cite this article:   
Linjie Wang,Zhili Li,Cheng Tan, et al. Physiological effects of weightlessness: countermeasure system development for a long-term Chinese manned spaceflight[J]. Front. Med., 2019, 13(2): 202-212.
Fig.1  Development process of a countermeasure system against the physiological effects of weightlessness.
Fig.2  Stride length, maximum impulse force, and oxygen consumption variations at different velocities under normal gravity and simulated weightlessness conditions. The longer stride length, decreased maximum impulse force, and relatively higher VO2 expenditure at lower speeds. Lower VO2 expenditure when running at speeds higher than 7 km/h in simulated weightlessness. NG, normal gravity; SW, simulated weightlessness; *, vs. NG P<0.05.
Fig.3  Plantar force profile changes at different velocities under normal gravity and simulated weightlessness conditions. When the subject was walking at 3 km/h, the double peak curves of the foot force variations can be easily recognized. However, this kind force pattern was not obvious at higher speeds (7 km/h and 10 km/h). Plantar force decreased in SW conditions at any speed. NG, normal gravity; SW, simulated weightlessness. Adapted from Ref.69, permitted under AAAS’s License to Publish.
Discipline Test performed Measurement
Cardiovascular Cardiac function Echocardiography
Cardiovascular tilt test Evaluation of orthostatic intolerance, ECG, finger hemodynamic test
Laser doppler blood flow detection
Transcranial doppler test
Endothelium-dependent and independent vasodilation
Bone Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry Bone density of whole body, lumbar spine, proximal femora (hips), calcaneus (heel)
Bone metabolism markers Serum chemistry Calcium homeostasis, gonadal hormones, calcitropic hormones, endocrine regulators, bone turnover markers
Urinary chemistry Minerals, bone turnover markers
Exercise physiology Isokinetic testing Muscle strength and endurance of the knee and ankle
Cycle ergometry Aerobic capacity (VO2), heart rate, ECG, blood pressure, workload
Skeletal muscle Skeletal muscular metabolism markers Serum chemistry Endocrine regulators, cytokines, and cell signaling mediators
Urinary measures Skeletal, muscular, peptide histological spectrum
Immunology Stress measures Neuroendocrine hormones and cytokines in response to biochemical and psychological stress
Oxidative stress measures Protein oxidative damage, lipid peroxidation damage, nucleic acid DNA/RNA damage
Immune status Leukocyte subset distribution, T cell function, T cell cytokine production profiles, antioxidant analysis
Biological rhythm Serum measures Epigenetic detection index
Saliva measures Melatonin, cortisol
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