Dr. Lembit Sihver E-Mail
Founder and CTO for Cosmic Shielding Corporation (CSC), Atlanta, GA, USA
Research Keywords: radiation, cancer Research, material science
The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells and proteins that defends the body against infections and protects the body from harmful substances, germs and cell changes that could make you ill.
The immune system protects the body from a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as cancer cells and objects such as wood splinters, distinguishing them from the organism's own healthy tissue. In an immune response, the immune system recognizes the antigens (usually proteins) on the surface of substances or microorganisms, such as cancer cells, bacteria, viruses, or fungi, and attacks and destroys, or tries to destroy, them. Nonliving substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles (such as a splinter) can also be antigens, which the immune system recognize and destroys, or tries to destroy.
Many species have two major subsystems of the immune system. The innate immune system, which provides a preconfigured response to broad groups of situations and stimuli. The adaptive immune system, which provides a tailored response to each stimulus by learning to recognize molecules it has previously encountered. Both use molecules and cells to perform their functions. As long as your immune system is working smoothly, you do not notice that it is there. But if it stops working properly, because it is weak or cannot fight particularly aggressive germs, you will get ill. Germs that your body has never encountered before are also likely to make you ill. Some germs will only make you ill the first time you come into contact with them. These include childhood diseases like chickenpox. While others can cause illness each time you encounter them.
All terrestrial organisms have evolved and adapted to thrive under Earth’s gravitational force. Due to the increase of crewed space flights in recent years, it is vital to understand how the lack of gravitational forces affects organisms, especially the immune system. It is known that astronauts who have been exposed to microgravity suffer from an array of pathological conditions including an impaired immune system, which is one of the most negatively affected by microgravity. However, at the cellular level a gap in knowledge exists, limiting our ability to understand immune impairment in space. It is therefore very important to perform research aimed at better understanding the correlation between gravitational force and immune response, and how the lack of gravitational forces affects the immune system.
In this Special Issue “The immune signature of gravity”, we welcome original articles, reviews, case reports, preclinical and clinical studies about correlations between gravitational force and immune response and how microgravity and lack of gravity influence the immune system.
Keywords: immune system, immune response, gravity, microgravity