Telomeres are “caps” on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from fraying, much like the end of a shoelace, and an enzyme, called telomerase, maintains their length.
Telomeres shorten over time, and the rate at which this occurs can be increased by stress, leading to accelerated aging, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and an impaired immune system. The Telomeres investigation collects crew member blood samples to determine how telomeres and telomerase are affected by space travel.
The overall goal of this project is to characterize and begin to define the risk of accelerated telomere shortening and changes in telomerase activity associated with spaceflight, a lifestyle with a variety of unique stressors. Consequences of accelerated telomere shortening would include advanced aging and age-associated phenotypes, ranging from reduced immune function, effects of which could be immediate/short-term and so influence performance during a mission, to cardiovascular disease and cancer, representing more long-term/permanent outcomes.
Long-duration spaceflight takes a toll on the body. This includes increases in physical and emotional stresses that can impact crew health. Inadequate nutrition, disrupted sleep, and microgravity itself contribute to crew stress, which in turn can contribute to shortened telomeres. Radiation exposure can also shorten telomeres.
This investigation identifies the spaceflight-related risks of accelerated telomere shortening and altered telomerase activity, which can have both short-term and long-term effects. Telomere degeneration could cause reduced immune function, which could have immediate effects on crew health, or it could cause cardiovascular disease and cancer years later. Telomere maintenance is an important biomarker for space travelers dealing with inadequate nutrition, radiation exposure, and physical and psychological stress.
Stress can have dramatic effects on human health. Results from the Telomeres investigation are expected to improve understanding of how life stresses can influence telomere maintenance, which in turn is related to aging and age-related diseases. Establishing relationships between stress and shortened telomeres, including altered telomerase activity, could lead to potential countermeasures for reduced immune function, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Telomere length will be evaluated according to established protocols, including quantitative (Q)-FISH (30). Below are representative microscopic images of a human metaphase chromosome spread hybridized with a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probe complementary to the telomere sequence and labeled with a red fluorophore (left), and the corresponding karyotype of the metaphase (right). Q-FISH analysis provides relative telomere length measurements based on fluorescence intensities for each chromosome.
What Does This Mean for You, Now?
Telomere health research has been going on around the world for 30 years. Over 19,000 articles have been published on PubMed, alone, and many of them are studies on Epitalon (Epithalon). This tetrapeptide induces telomarase within the Pineal Gland, thereby increasing telomere length.
I addition to this anti-aging effect, Epitalon has also been shown to help balance proper levels of Melatonin and Cortisol. So it makes sense that NASA would be concerned about the effects of space and telomere health. And, the benefits of telomere health and the use of peptides is growing more each year.
Since the study of Epithalon (Epitalon) was centered in Russia it's availability had been scarce, until recent years. But Epitalon is now available; you don't have to wait to experience its anti-aging effects. (We suggest Regevity for the quality of their Epitalon.)
-Peptides of pineal gland and thymus prolong human life. PMID: 14523363
-Over 13.000 studies about pineal gland on PuMed
-Human pineal physiology and functional significance of melatonin. PMID: 15589268
-Over 19.000 studies about melatonin on PuMed
-Melatonin: a master hormone and a candidate for universal panacea. PMID: 9063071
-Melatonin: Nature’s most versatile biological signal? PMID: 16817850
-Pineal gland Wiki