Retrospective analysis of somatic mutations and clonal hematopoiesis in astronauts

Agnieszka Brojakowska, Anupreet Kour, Mark Charles Thel, Eunbee Park, Malik Bisserier, Venkata Naga Srikanth Garikipati, Lahouaria Hadri, Paul J. Mills, Kenneth Walsh, David A. Goukassian

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7 Scopus citations


With planned deep space and commercial spaceflights, gaps remain to address health risks in astronauts. Multiple studies have shown associations between clonal expansion of hematopoietic cells with hematopoietic malignancies and cardiometabolic disease. This expansion of clones in the absence of overt hematopoietic disorders is termed clonal hematopoiesis (CH) of indeterminate potential (CHIP). Using deep, error-corrected, targeted DNA sequencing we assayed for somatic mutations in CH-driver genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from de-identified blood samples collected from 14 astronauts who flew Shuttle missions between 1998–2001. We identified 34 nonsynonymous mutations of relatively low variant allele fraction in 17 CH-driver genes, with the most prevalent mutations in TP53 and DNMT3A. The presence of these small clones in the blood of relatively young astronaut cohort warrants further retrospective and prospective investigation of their clinical relevance and potential application in monitoring astronaut’s health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number828
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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