|Late onset cardiovascular dysfunction in adult mice resulting from galactic cosmic ray exposure.
|Year of Publication
|M Bishawi, FH Lee, DM Abraham, C Glass, SJ Blocker, DJ Cox, ZD Brown, HA Rockman, L Mao, TC Slaba, MW Dewhirst, GA Truskey, and DE Bowles
The complex and inaccessible space radiation environment poses an unresolved risk to astronaut cardiovascular health during long-term space exploration missions. To model this risk, healthy male c57BL/6 mice aged six months (corresponding to an astronaut of 34 years) were exposed to simplified galactic cosmic ray (GCR5-ion; 5-ion sim) irradiation at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratories (BNL). Multi-modal cardiovascular functional assessments performed longitudinally and terminally revealed significant impairment in cardiac function in mice exposed to GCR5-ion compared to unirradiated controls, gamma irradiation, or single mono-energetic ions (56Fe or 16O). GCR5-ion-treated mice exhibited increased arterial elastance likely mediated by disruption of elastin fibers. This study suggests that a single exposure to GCR5-ion is associated with deterioration in cardiac structure and function that becomes apparent long after exposure, likely associated with increased morbidity and mortality. These findings represent important health considerations when preparing for successful space exploration.