Effects of an aged tissue niche on the immune potency of dendritic cells using simulated microgravity

Mei ElGindi, Jiranuwat Sapudom, Anna Garcia Sabate, Brian Chesney Quartey, Aseel Alatoom, Mohamed Al-Sayegh, Rui Li, Weiqiang Chen, Jeremy Teo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microgravity accelerates the aging of various physiological systems, and it is well acknowledged that aged individuals and astronauts both have increased susceptibility to infections and poor response to vaccination. Immunologically, dendritic cells (DCs) are the key players in linking innate and adaptive immune responses. Their distinct and optimized differentiation and maturation phases play a critical role in presenting antigens and mounting effective lymphocyte responses for long-term immunity. Despite their importance, no studies to date have effectively investigated the effects of microgravity on DCs in their native microenvironment, which is primarily located within tissues. Here, we address a significantly outstanding research gap by examining the effects of simulated microgravity via a random positioning machine on both immature and mature DCs cultured in biomimetic collagen hydrogels, a surrogate for tissue matrices. Furthermore, we explored the effects of loose and dense tissues via differences in collagen concentration. Under these various environmental conditions, the DC phenotype was characterized using surface markers, cytokines, function, and transcriptomic profiles. Our data indicate that aged or loose tissue and exposure to RPM-induced simulated microgravity both independently alter the immunogenicity of immature and mature DCs. Interestingly, cells cultured in denser matrices experience fewer effects of simulated microgravity at the transcriptome level. Our findings are a step forward to better facilitate healthier future space travel and enhance our understanding of the aging immune system on Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
Journalnpj Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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