Special Issue "Space Radiobiology"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Radiobiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giorgio Russo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology (IBFM), National Research Council (CNR), 90015 Cefalù (PA), Italy
Interests: radiobiology; medical physics; radioprotection; biomedical imaging; cancer biology; tumor hypoxia; radiosensitizing agents; biomarkers; target therapies
Dr. Walter Tinganelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Biophysics division, GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, 64291 Darmstadt, Germany
Interests: space biology; radiobiology; cancer biology; tumor hypoxia; flash radiotherapy; cell and molecular biology; human pathology and physiology; hibernation and synthetic torpor; target therapies
Dr. Marco Calvaruso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology (IBFM), National Research Council (CNR), 90015 Cefalù, Italy
Interests: space biology; radiobiology; cancer biology; radiosensitizing agents; cell and molecular biology; tumor immunology; human pathology, immunotherapy; biomarkers; target therapies.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the beginning of mankind, humans have always wondered about outer space and conquering it. The first answers to these questions arrived many years later, with the first human in space, launched in 1961, and with the following moon landing in 1969. Since then, the idea to leave our terrestrial shelters, to delve into space and colonize it, has become more and more concrete. However, space is an inhospitable place to explore, and it exposes human travellers to many challenges to their health. In the last 50 years, space biology has enriched the basic knowledge about the effects of space-radiation exposure and gravity unloading. However, the majority of studies have been aimed at the protection of astronauts flying in a low earth orbit (LEO), and they are based on an as yet limited amount of data collected from real space flight conditions or simulated ones.

The steady implementation of space transportation systems, and the future development of the Lunar Gateway, will inevitably lead astronauts to be involved in longer space missions that will be held beyond LEO. Therefore, a deeper elucidation of space-dependent effects related to health risks for the crew represents a major issue. In this context, future studies should not only be aimed at the prevention of health problems in space, but also at the management and resolution of pathological issues that may occur in an altered gravitational environment. It is important to note that these health risks both comprise those deriving from long-term radiation and microgravity exposure (cancer, immunological and neurological impairments, infections, muscle and bone loss, etc), together with those associated with isolation and confinement conditions (psychological problems). On the other hand, outputs coming from space biology research may be useful to ameliorate human life on Earth. 

On these bases, the role of space biology will be pivotal and functional in the future for the prediction, prevention, and management of diseases, and for the development of effective countermeasures to intervene promptly during space missions.

The main goal of this Special Issue is to collect multidisciplinary observations and provide new insights regarding space’s effects on biological systems in order to facilitate human permanence far from terrestrial orbit. Other topics of interest for this Special Issue will be the impact of space biology studies in improving life quality on Earth.

Dr. Marco Calvaruso
Dr. Giorgio Russo
Dr. Walter Tinganelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • radiobiology
  • radioprotection
  • microgravity
  • space radiations
  • DNA damage
  • shielding materials

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Biological and Mechanical Characterization of the Random Positioning Machine (RPM) for Microgravity Simulations
Life 2021, 11(11), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11111190 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 281
Abstract
The rapid improvement of space technologies is leading to the continuous increase of space missions that will soon bring humans back to the Moon and, in the coming future, toward longer interplanetary missions such as the one to Mars. The idea of living [...] Read more.
The rapid improvement of space technologies is leading to the continuous increase of space missions that will soon bring humans back to the Moon and, in the coming future, toward longer interplanetary missions such as the one to Mars. The idea of living in space is charming and fascinating; however, the space environment is a harsh place to host human life and exposes the crew to many physical challenges. The absence of gravity experienced in space affects many aspects of human biology and can be reproduced in vitro with the help of microgravity simulators. Simulated microgravity (s-μg) is applied in many fields of research, ranging from cell biology to physics, including cancer biology. In our study, we aimed to characterize, at the biological and mechanical level, a Random Positioning Machine in order to simulate microgravity in an in vitro model of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). We investigated the effects played by s-μg by analyzing the change of expression of some genes that drive proliferation, survival, cell death, cancer stemness, and metastasis in the human MDA-MB-231 cell line. Besides the mechanical verification of the RPM used in our studies, our biological findings highlighted the impact of s-μg and its putative involvement in cancer progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Radiobiology)
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Article
Track Structure Components: Characterizing Energy Deposited in Spherical Cells from Direct and Peripheral HZE Ion Hits
Life 2021, 11(11), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11111112 - 20 Oct 2021
Viewed by 291
Abstract
To understand the biological effects of radiation, it is important to determine how ionizing radiation deposits energy in micrometric targets. The energy deposited in a target located in an irradiated tissue is a function of several factors such as the radiation type and [...] Read more.
To understand the biological effects of radiation, it is important to determine how ionizing radiation deposits energy in micrometric targets. The energy deposited in a target located in an irradiated tissue is a function of several factors such as the radiation type and the irradiated volume size. We simulated the energy deposited by energetic ions in spherical targets of 1, 2, 4, and 8 µm radii encompassed in irradiated parallelepiped volumes of various sizes using the stochastic radiation track structure code Relativistic Ion Tracks (RITRACKS). Because cells are usually part of a tissue when they are irradiated, electrons originating from radiation tracks in neighboring volumes also contribute to energy deposition in the target. To account for this contribution, we used periodic boundary conditions in the simulations. We found that the single-ion spectra of energy deposition in targets comprises two components: the direct ion hits to the targets, which is identical in all irradiation conditions, and the contribution of hits from electrons from neighboring volumes, which depends on the irradiated volume. We also calculated an analytical expression of the indirect hit contributions using the local effect model, which showed results similar to those obtained with RITRACKS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Radiobiology)
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Article
Evaluating Ocular Response in the Retina and Optic Nerve Head after Single and Fractionated High-Energy Protons
Life 2021, 11(8), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080849 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
There are serious concerns about possible late radiation damage to ocular tissue from prolonged space radiation exposure, and occupational and medical procedures. This study aimed to investigate the effects of whole-body high-energy proton exposure at a single dose on apoptosis, oxidative stress, and [...] Read more.
There are serious concerns about possible late radiation damage to ocular tissue from prolonged space radiation exposure, and occupational and medical procedures. This study aimed to investigate the effects of whole-body high-energy proton exposure at a single dose on apoptosis, oxidative stress, and blood-retina barrier (BRB) integrity in the retina and optic nerve head (ONH) region and to compare these radiation-induced effects with those produced by fractionated dose. Six-month-old C57BL/6 male mice were either sham irradiated or received whole-body high energy proton irradiation at an acute single dose of 0.5 Gy or 12 equal dose fractions for a total dose of 0.5 Gy over twenty-five days. At four months following irradiation, mice were euthanized and ocular tissues were collected for histochemical analysis. Significant increases in the number of apoptotic cells were documented in the mouse retinas and ONHs that received proton radiation with a single or fractionated dose (p < 0.05). Immunochemical analysis revealed enhanced immunoreactivity for oxidative biomarker, 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) in the retina and ONH following single or fractionated protons with more pronounced changes observed with a single dose of 0.5 Gy. BRB integrity was also evaluated with biomarkers of aquaporin-4 (AQP-4), a water channel protein, a tight junction (TJ) protein, Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), and an adhesion molecule, the platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). A significantly increased expression of AQP-4 was observed in the retina following a single dose exposure compared to controls. There was also a significant increase in the expression of PECAM-1 and a decrease in the expression of ZO-1 in the retina. These changes give a strong indication of disturbance to BRB integrity in the retina. Interestingly, there was very limited immunoreactivity of AQP-4 and ZO-1 seen in the ONH region, pointing to possible lack of BRB properties as previously reported. Our data demonstrated that exposure to proton radiation of 0.5 Gy induced oxidative stress-associated apoptosis in the retina and ONH, and changes in BRB integrity in the retina. Our study also revealed the differences in BRB biomarker distribution between these two regions. In response to radiation insults, the cellular response in the retina and ONH may be differentially regulated in acute or hyperfractionated dose schedules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Radiobiology)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: To be decided
Authors: Akihisa Takahashi et al.
Affiliation: Gunma University, Heavy Ion Medical Center, Maebashi, Japan

Title: To be decided
Authors: Michael Story et al.
Affiliation: Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Molecular Radiation Biology, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, TX 75390 , USA

Title: Evaluating ocular response in the retina and optic nerve head after single and fractionated low-dose high-energy protons.
Authors: Xiao Wen Mao et al.
Affiliation: Division of Biomedical Engineering Sciences (BMES), Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University, CA 92354, USA

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