The increasing duration of space missions involves a progressively higher exposure of astronauts to cosmic rays, whose most hazardous component is made up of High-Atomic number and High-Energy (HZE) ions. HZE ions interact along their tracks with biological molecules inducing changes on living material qualitatively different from that observed after irradiation for therapeutic purposes or following nuclear accidents. HZE ions trigger in cells different responses initialized by DNA damage and mitochondria dysregulation, which cause a prolonged state of sterile inflammation in the tissues. These cellular phenomena may explain why spending time in space was found to cause the onset of a series of diseases normally related to aging. These changes that mimic aging but take place more quickly make space flights also an opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying aging. In this short review, we describe the biological mechanisms underlying cell senescence and aging; the peculiar characteristics of HZE ions, their interaction with living matter and the effects on the organism; the key role of mitochondria in HZE ion-induced health effects and aging-related phenomena.

Why Do the Cosmic Rays Induce Aging?

Giovanetti A.;
2020

Abstract

The increasing duration of space missions involves a progressively higher exposure of astronauts to cosmic rays, whose most hazardous component is made up of High-Atomic number and High-Energy (HZE) ions. HZE ions interact along their tracks with biological molecules inducing changes on living material qualitatively different from that observed after irradiation for therapeutic purposes or following nuclear accidents. HZE ions trigger in cells different responses initialized by DNA damage and mitochondria dysregulation, which cause a prolonged state of sterile inflammation in the tissues. These cellular phenomena may explain why spending time in space was found to cause the onset of a series of diseases normally related to aging. These changes that mimic aging but take place more quickly make space flights also an opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying aging. In this short review, we describe the biological mechanisms underlying cell senescence and aging; the peculiar characteristics of HZE ions, their interaction with living matter and the effects on the organism; the key role of mitochondria in HZE ion-induced health effects and aging-related phenomena.
aging
cell signaling
cosmic rays
DNA damage
mitochondrion
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/57262
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