Spaceflight downregulates antioxidant defense systems in rat liver

J. Hollander, M. Gore, R. Fiebig, R. Mazzeo, S. Ohishi, H. Ohno, L. L. Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Liver antioxidant enzyme activities, mRNA abundance, and glutathione (GSH) status were investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats placed in an enclosure module aboard Space Shuttle STS-63 for 8 d (F, n = 6). F animals were compared to rats housed in an enclosure module on the ground (G, n = 9), which simulated the vibration and temperature conditions associated with launch and flight, and rats kept under conventional ground vivarium conditions in individual cages (V, n = 6). Spaceflight significantly decreased catalase, GSH reductase, and GSH sulfur-transferase activities m the liver (p < .05). Neither enzyme activity nor enzyme protein content of Cu-Zn and Mn superoxide dismutase (SOD) was affected by flight. The relative abundance of mRNA for Cu-Zn SOD and catalase was significantly decreased comparing F with G rats (p < 05). Spaceflight resulted in a dramatic decrease of liver GSH, glutathione disulfide, and total GSH contents (p < .01), which were accompanied by a lower γ-glutamyl transpeptidase activity (p < 05). F rats showed a 47% (p < .05) increase in liver malondialdehyde concentration compared to G and V rats. Liver protein content was not affected by flight These results indicate that spaceflight can downregulate antioxidant defense capacity and elicit an oxidative stress in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a PHS Grant DK 42034. John Hollander is a recipient of NIH T32 DK 07765. The cDNA probes for Cu-Zn SOD, Mn SOD, catalase, and GPX were generous gifts of Dr. Ye-Shih Ho, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. The Cu-Zn SOD and Mn SOD antiobodies were generous gifts of Drs. Keiichiro Suzuki and Naoyuki Taniguchi from the Department of Biochemistry, Osaka University, Japan. The cDNA probe for β-actin was a generous gift of Dr. Stuart Smith, Oakland Children’s Hospital, Oakland, CA.


  • Antioxidant enzyme
  • Glutathione
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Liver
  • Rat
  • Spaceflight


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