Stress circle

Consequences of longterm-Confinement and Hypobaric HypOxia on Immunity in the antarctic Concordia Environment II (CHO2ICE – Study) from observations to mechanisms

The planned assessment of the interactions between “Stress and Immunity” under the condition of moderate hypoxia in Antarctica are in logical continuation of the study team´s previous investigations at CONCORDIA as named CHOICE I (with the controls: e.g. at the Neumayer III Station to control for normoxic confinement).
From the previous CHOICE I and from ongoing studies in other extreme environments the study team has observed significant immunological changes which were paralleled by increased levels of emotional stress and stress hormones.
The study team looks forward to characterize more specifically the immunological changes as a function of the action of specific stress hormones. This is achieved by modern functional cell analyses of the non-specific and specific parts of the immune system, e.g. by assessment of reactivity towards bacterial, viral and fungal antigens which is assessed with your blood in tubes and outside your body. Furthermore, the study team will assess so called gene arrays from blood cells to obtain information about stress hormone receptors or immunological pathways. These gene arrays are no “gene analyses” which can tell you something about e.g. any “life risk” or increased possibility of cancer. These analyses can just tell you if an enzyme or receptor is up or downregulated.
This will help to understand the observation of CHOICE I and to decifer the phasic changes of the human host defence. Almost all variables and methods are tested and proven in clinical and experimental research in the study teams clinic and laboratory and were applied in comparable fashion at the Concordia station before.
Moreover, by application of new and innovative parameters used in previous earth-bound studies and on the ISS, the study team will provide new insight into the adoption process of humans during confinement under the condition of hypoxia