Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Research Briefing
  • Published:

The human microbiome and immune response shift during spaceflight

The largest-ever study of alterations in the host’s microbiome and immune response during spaceflight shows shifts in the skin and oral microbiota during flight that are consistent across astronauts, with numerous changes in microbial gene expression that also correlate to host immune activity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Study design.


  1. Rooney, B. V., Crucian, B. E., Pierson, D. L., Laudenslager, M. L. & Mehta, S. K. Herpes virus reactivation in astronauts during spaceflight and its application on Earth. Front. Microbiol. 10, 16 (2019). This manuscript describes herpesvirus dynamics as a result of immune stress during spaceflight.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Voorhies, A. A. et al. Study of the impact of long-duration space missions at the International Space Station on the astronaut microbiome. Sci. Rep. 9, 9911 (2019). This manuscript explores shifts in the astronaut microbiome during spaceflight.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Tierney, B. T. et al. Gene-level metagenomic architectures across diseases yield high-resolution microbiome diagnostic indicators. Nat. Commun. 12, 2907 (2021). This manuscript describes the concept of microbiome architectures.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Overbey, E. G. et al. Collection of biospecimens from the Inspiration4 mission establishes the standards for the Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA). Nat. Commun. (2024). This paper details the specimen collection protocols for the data presented in this cohort.

Download references

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This is a summary of: Tierney, B. T. et al. Longitudinal multi-omics analysis of host microbiome architecture and immune responses during short-term spaceflight. Nat. Microbiol. (2024).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

The human microbiome and immune response shift during spaceflight. Nat Microbiol 9, 1640–1641 (2024).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing