Brain ventricular volume changes induced by long-duration spaceflight

TitleBrain ventricular volume changes induced by long-duration spaceflight
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsVan Ombergen, A., S. Jillings, B. Jeurissen, E. Tomilovskaya, A. Rumshiskaya, L. Litvinova, I. Nosikova, E. Pechenkova, I. Rukavishnikov, O. Manko, S. Danylichev, M. R. Rühl, I. B. Kozlovskaya, S. Sunaert, P. M. Parizel, V. Sinitsyn, S. Laureys, J. Sijbers, P. zu Eulenburg, and F. L. Wuyts
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
ISSN0027-8424
Abstract

Long-duration spaceflight induces detrimental changes in human physiology due to microgravity. One example is a cephalic fluid shift. Here, we prospectively investigated the quantitative changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume of the brain ventricular regions in space crew by means of a region of interest, observer-independent analysis on structural brain MRI scans. MRI scans were collected before the mission, shortly after and 7 mo after return to Earth. We found a significant increase in lateral and third ventricles at postflight and a trend to normalization at follow-up, but still significantly increased ventricular volumes. The observed spatiotemporal pattern of CSF compartment enlargement and recovery points to a reduced CSF resorption in microgravity as the underlying cause.Long-duration spaceflight induces detrimental changes in human physiology. Its residual effects and mechanisms remain unclear. We prospectively investigated the changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume of the brain ventricular regions in space crew by means of a region of interest analysis on structural brain scans. Cosmonaut MRI data were investigated preflight (n = 11), postflight (n = 11), and at long-term follow-up 7 mo after landing (n = 7). Post hoc analyses revealed a significant difference between preflight and postflight values for all supratentorial ventricular structures, i.e., lateral ventricle (mean % change ± SE = 13.3 ± 1.9), third ventricle (mean % change ± SE = 10.4 ± 1.1), and the total ventricular volume (mean % change ± SE = 11.6 ± 1.5) (all P < 0.0001), with higher volumes at postflight. At follow-up, these structures did not quite reach baseline levels, with still residual increases in volume for the lateral ventricle (mean % change ± SE = 7.7 ± 1.6; P = 0.0009), the third ventricle (mean % change ± SE = 4.7 ± 1.3; P = 0.0063), and the total ventricular volume (mean % change ± SE = 6.4 ± 1.3; P = 0.0008). This spatiotemporal pattern of CSF compartment enlargement and recovery points to a reduced CSF resorption in microgravity as the underlying cause. Our results warrant more detailed and longer longitudinal follow-up. The clinical impact of our findings on the long-term cosmonauts’ health and their relation to ocular changes reported in space travelers requires further prospective studies.

URLhttps://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/05/01/1820354116
DOI10.1073/pnas.1820354116