Gravitational biologyJanuary 10, 2017
Space travel in a reduced gravity environment can have lasting effects on the body. For example, researches clearly show that astronauts undergo a significant drop in bone mineral density during space missions, but the precise molecular mechanisms responsible for such changes in bone structure are unclear.
Now, Akira Kudo at Tokyo Tech, together with scientists in Japan in support of other countries, performed remotely live-imaging (real time) for fluorescent signals derived from osteoblasts and osteoclasts of medaka fish after only one day of exposure to microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS). They found increases in both osteoblast and osteoclast specific promoter-driven GFP and DsRed signals one day after launch, and continued for up to eight days.
In their experiments, the team used four different double medaka transgenic lines focusing on up-regulation of fluorescent signals of osteoblasts and osteoclasts to clarify the effect of gravity on the interaction of osteoblast-osteoclast. They also studied changes in the gene expression in the transgenic fish by so-celled transcriptome analysis.
These findings suggest that exposure to microgravity induced an immediate "dynamic alteration of gene expressions in osteoblasts and osteoclasts." Namely, these experiments based on real time imaging of medaka from Earth and transcriptome analysis could be the prelude to the establishment of a new scientific areas of research in "gravitational biology".?
The live-imaging of fluorescence microscopy signals from the fish aboard the ISS were monitored remotely from Tsukuba Space Center in Japan.
Live-imaging of osteoblasts showed the intensity of osterix- and osteocalcin-DsRed in pharyngeal bones to increase one day after launch. This increased effect continued for eight days for osterix- and 5 days for osteocalcin.
In the case of osteoclasts, the fluorescent signals observed from TRAP-GFP and MMP9-DsRed increased significantly on the fourth and sixth days after launch.
The fluorescent analysis was complimented by using transcriptome analysis to measure gene expression in the transgenic fish. The researchers state that, "HiSeq from pharyngeal bones of juvenile fish at day 2 after launch showed up-regulation of 2 osteoblast- and 3 osteoclast- related genes".
Also, transcription of the "nucleus" was found to be significantly enhanced based on whole body gene ontology analysis of RNA-Seq, with the researchers observing transcription-regulators to be more up-regulated at day 2 compared with during day 6.
Finally, Kudo and the team identified 5 genes: (c-fos and jun-b, pai-1 and ddit4, and tsc22d3) that were all up-regulated in the whole-body on days 2 and 6, and in the pharyngeal bone on day 2.
Live in so-called 'microgravity' environments -- where the force of gravity is considerably less than on Earth -- can cause significant problems for the human body. Astronauts who spend a number of months in space have been shown to suffer from reduced bone mineral density, leading to skeletal problems. Surprisingly, the loss of calcium starts at least 10 days after launch in astronauts in Skylab Flights, as to symptoms that appear early in orbit.
The precise molecular mechanisms responsible for loss of bone density are not yet fully understood. The current study by Kudo and his team is a major step towards uncovering the mechanisms governing changes in bone structure immediately after the onset of microgravity, when bone loss is triggered. By remote live-imaging from Tsukuba Space Center of the behavior of medaka on board the ISS, they found significant increases in both osteoblast and osteoclast specific promoter-driven GFP and DsRed after exposure to microgravity. The findings imply that changes in osteoblasts and osteoclasts occur very soon after launch.
In the next space experiment, Kudo and colleagues will clarify the role of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) on cells in microgravity.
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Related Microgravity Articles:
Experts at this year's Euroanaesthesia congress in Geneva (June 3-5) will discuss the unusual and challenging problem of how to perform emergency medical procedures during space missions.
Microgravity experiments revealed that supercooled water containing antifreeze glycoproteins accelerates and oscillates its ice crystal growth rate, contrary to what was expected.
Crew members aboard the International Space Station will begin conducting research this week to improve the way we grow crystals on Earth.
A proof-of-concept investigation, Nanobiosym Genes, is sending two strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria to the International Space Station.
Growing significant numbers of human stem cells in a short time could lead to new treatments for stroke and other diseases.
Orbital ATK is targeted to launch its Cygnus spacecraft into orbit for a resupply mission to the International Space Station March 24, 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Slosh Coating investigation tests using a liquid-repellant coating inside a container to control the movement of liquids in microgravity.
The Two-Phase Flow investigation looks at the heat transfer characteristics of how boiling liquids turn into vapor in microgravity.
Today, the latest rocket launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., included a payload of several samples of donated adult stem cells from a research laboratory at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.
As is well-known, space flights bring with them a unique set of health hazards.
Related Microgravity Reading:
Physics of Fluids in Microgravity (Earth Space Institute Book Series)
by Rodolfo Monti (Editor)
In a microgravity experiment, the conditions prevalent in fluid phases can be substantially different from those on the ground and can be exploited to improve different processes. Fluid physics research in microgravity is important for the advancement of all microgravity scients: life, material, and engineering.
Space flight provides a unique laboratory that allows scientists to improve their understanding of the behaviour of fluids in low gravity, allowing the investigation of phenomena and processes normally masked by the effects of gravity and thus difficult to study on... View Details
Nuclear Propulsion Techniques for Spacecraft: Utilization of Nuclear Reactors in Spacecraft for Space Propulsion and Space Power in a Microgravity Environment
by Ugur Guven (Author)
The two of the largest developments in the 20th century have been the invention of spacecraft, and the invention of nuclear power as a source of long lasting energy. Now, both technological fields have grown immensely to structure the technology of our world. These two fields are intertwined, as the future of space exploration depends on the availability of nuclear power. One of the most important requirements of a space flight mission is to be able to fly to furthest reaches of the universe. In fact, flying anywhere in our Solar System besides the moon will pose a considerable challenge as... View Details
by Beth Partin (Author)
After a young girl's mother and father are murdered in a cult ritual, she becomes obsessed with uncovering the killers. When she meets a minister whom she suspects to be aligned with the cult, she learns a lesson of equal, if not greater value. View Details
Microgravity Two-phase Flow and Heat Transfer (Space Technology Library)
by Kamiel S. Gabriel (Author)
Multiphase thermal systems have numerous applications in aerospace, heat-exchange, transport of contaminants in environmental systems, and energy transport and conversion systems. A reduced - or microgravity - environment provides an excellent tool for accurate study of the flow without the masking effects of gravity. This book presents for the first time a comprehensive coverage of all aspects of two-phase flow behaviour in the virtual absence of gravity.View Details
Cardiovascular System, Red Blood Cells, and Oxygen Transport in Microgravity (SpringerBriefs in Space Life Sciences)
by Hanns-Christian Gunga (Author), Victoria Weller von Ahlefeld (Author), Hans-Joachim Appell Coriolano (Author), Andreas Werner (Author), Uwe Hoffmann (Author)
This book comprehensively describes the physiological changes and consequences that occur in humans during spaceflight. It specifically presents the adaptations of the cardiovascular and the respiratory system. Specific changes occurring after 10, 20 or more days in space are depicted. Furthermore, the book explains various effective countermeasures that are required upon return of the astronauts to Earth.The book is a must-have for all biomedical and clinical researchers in the field of cardiovascular biology and respiration, and a fascinating reading for all interested... View Details
Biological and Medical Research in Space: An Overview of Life Sciences Research in Microgravity
by David Moore (Editor), Peter Bie (Editor), Heinz Oser (Editor)
Life Science studies in space were initially driven by the need to explore how man could survive spaceflight conditions; the effects of being launched un der high accelerations, exposed to weightlessness and radiation for different periods of time, and returned to Earth in safety. In order to substantiate the detailed knowledge of potentially adverse effects, many model experiments were launched using organisms which ranged from bacteria, plants, inverte brates, rodents and primates through to man. Although no immediate life threatening effects were found, these experiments can be... View Details
Microgravity and Vision Impairments in Astronauts (SpringerBriefs in Space Development)
by Erik Seedhouse (Author)
Recent missions on board the International Space Station have revealed previously unreported physiological consequences of long duration space flight, particularly in eyesight, and in this Brief Dr. Seedhouse reviews the existing theories on what causes this degeneration and how long it will last. Notably, 60% of long-duration crews have reported subjective degradation in vision, a clear indication that further study is necessary before astronauts embark on even longer-term space missions. Decreased near-visual acuity was reported in 46% of ISS/Mir crewmembers, resulting in a change of up to... View Details
Exploring Limits in Microgravity: Experiments on STS-107/Columbia: Postflight Edition
by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) (Author)
Exploring Limits in Microgravity takes a light-hearted, entertaining approach to serious microgravity science. You will learn how NASA research is conducted in the low-gravity environment of the space shuttle and will improve your understanding of the physical world around us. This program will improve your understanding of how the knowledge gained from these experiments can affect our everyday lives here on Earth. The experiments onboard Space Shuttle Mission STS-107 investigated the physics of fluids, the science of combustion and the measurement of accelerations. This DVD includes the... View Details
Transport Phenomena in Microgravity (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)
by S. S. Sadhal (Author)
Book by S. S. Sadhal View Details
Space Technology and Applications International Forum, STAIF 2006 : 10th Conference on Thermophysics Applications in Microgravity, 23rd Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion, 4th Conference on Human/Robotic Technology and the National Vision for Space Exploration, 4th Symposium on Space Colonization, 3rd Symposium on New Frontiers and Future Concepts : Albuquerque, New Mexico, 12-16 February 2006
by N.M.) (2006 : El-Genk, Mohamed S. ; Conference on Thermophysics in Microgravity Albuquerque, N.M.) 2006 : ; Symposium on Space Nuclear Space Technology & Applications International Forum Albuquerque (Author)