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Abstract #4531

Diffusion MRI reveals macro- and microstructural changes in cosmonauts' brains after long-duration spaceflight

Steven Jilings1, Angelique Van Ombergen2, Elena Tomilovskaya3, Alena Rumshiskaya4, Liudmila Litvinova4, Inna Nosikova3, Ekaterina Pechenkova5, Ilya Rukavishnikov3, Inessa Kozlovskaya3, Stefan Sunaert6, Paul M Parizel7, Valentin Sinitsyn8, Victor Petrovichev4, Steven Laureys9, Peter zu Eulenburg10, Jan Sijbers11, Floris Wuyts1, and Ben Jeurissen11
1Lab for Equilibrium Investigations and Aerospace, Dept. of Physics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, 2Translations Neuroscience, Dept. of Medicine, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, 3Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation, 4Dept. of Radiology, Federal Center of Treatment and Rehabilitation, Moscow, Russian Federation, 5Laboratory for Cognitive Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation, 6Dept. of Imaging and Pathology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 7Dept. of Radiology, Royal Perth Hospital and University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 8Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation, 9Coma Science Group, Dept. of Neurology, University (Hospital) of Liège, Liège, Belgium, 10German Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders, Dept. of Neurology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany, 11imec - Vision Lab, Dept. of Physics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

There is currently limited information on the effects of spaceflight on the human brain. Therefore, we investigated longitudinal changes in gray matter (GM), white matter (WM), and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) density and mass using diffusion MRI data acquired pre-flight, post-flight and at follow-up. Our results show redistributed CSF and concomitant GM morphological changes post-flight, which reverse at follow-up. At the same time, our results show no evidence of neurodegeneration. Moreover, GM and WM mass increased in sensorimotor brain regions post-flight, which largely persisted at follow-up. These results indicate, for the first time, sensorimotor neuroplasticity after spaceflight.

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