Nav: Home

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

May 23, 2018

Astronauts go through many physiological changes during their time in spaceflight, including lower muscle mass and slower muscle development. Similar symptoms can occur in the muscles of people on Earth's surface, too. In fact, it could affect everyone to some extent later in life.

"Age-related skeletal muscle disorders, such as sarcopenia, are becoming a greater concern in society," said Hiroshima University (HU) Professor and Space Bio-Laboratories Director Louis Yuge. "It is especially a big concern in Japan, where the number of aging people is increasing."

In a study published in Microgravity, a medical research group at HU led by Yuge shed light on these similarities. They found that the process that affects gene expression of differentiating muscle cells in space also affects cells in the presence of gravity.

The genetic and molecular basis of impaired muscle development has been unclear. Yuge thinks there is a pressing need to understand it and come up with better treatment outcomes.

He and his team investigated how simulated microgravity - that is, gravity in space-like conditions - affects muscle cell differentiation and gene expression.

They observed what happened to rat muscle cells over time. Some cells were treated with a drug that stops DNA methylation from happening, while other cells were not. DNA methylation is a process that controls gene expression and muscle cell differentiation.

Next, they grew the cells either in normal gravity or inside of Gravite, a machine that simulates gravity at levels that astronauts experience in spaceflight. Cells in microgravity exhibited less cell differentiation after all. However, cells growing without the drug formed muscle fibers at a slower rate and showed less gene expression.

One gene, Myod1, was of particular interest. Its expression levels were significantly lower in microgravity conditions and when growing with the drug that stopped DNA methylation.

Within gravity, as well as without it, the group concluded that DNA methylation appears to be a key player in regulating muscle cell differentiation. "These findings highlight genes affected by DNA methylation, like Myod1, as potential targets for treating patients with skeletal muscle atrophy," Yuge said.

The team's results can be utilized in space experiments, where muscle atrophy of astronauts uses myotubes because it is easy to understand morphologically. Additionally, the findings of this epigenetics can be used in many differentiated cells, stem cells, or cancer. The Micro-G Center of the Kennedy Space Center of NASA, where Yuge is an advisory committee member, and NASA have already conducted experiments to cultivate stem cells on the International Space Station, where this paper can also provide insight. Yuge and his team are expected to start a massive space experiment at NASA/Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).
-end-


Hiroshima University

Related Stem Cells Articles:

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Approaching a decades-old goal: Making blood stem cells from patients' own cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have, for the first time, generated blood-forming stem cells in the lab using pluripotent stem cells, which can make virtually every cell type in the body.
New research finds novel method for generating airway cells from stem cells
Researchers have developed a new approach for growing and studying cells they hope one day will lead to curing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis through 'personalized medicine.'
Mature heart muscle cells created in the laboratory from stem cells
Generating mature and viable heart muscle cells from human or other animal stem cells has proven difficult for biologists.
Mutations in bone cells can drive leukemia in neighboring stem cells
DNA mutations in bone cells that support blood development can drive leukemia formation in nearby blood stem cells.
Scientists take aging cardiac stem cells out of semiretirement to improve stem cell therapy
With age, the chromosomes of our cardiac stem cells compress as they move into a state of safe, semiretirement.
Purest yet liver-like cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells
A team of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina and elsewhere has found a better way to purify liver cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells.
Stem cell scientists discover genetic switch to increase supply of stem cells from cord blood
International stem cell scientists, co-led in Canada by Dr. John Dick and in the Netherlands by Dr.
Stem cells from diabetic patients coaxed to become insulin-secreting cells
Signaling a potential new approach to treating diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Related Stem Cells Reading:

Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide: How Stem Cells Are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives
by Neil H Riordan (Author)

Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide
by Paul Knoepfler (Author)

The Science of Stem Cells
by Jonathan M. W. Slack (Author)

Stem Cells: Promise And Reality
by Lygia V Pereira (Author)

Stem Cells: A Short Course
by Rob Burgess (Author)

Stem Cell Revolution: Discover 26 Disruptive Technological Advances to Stem Cell Activation
by Joseph Christiano (Author)

The Stem Cell Revolution
by Mark Berman MD (Author), Elliot Lander MD (Contributor)

Stem Cells For Dummies
by Lawrence S.B. Goldstein (Author), Meg Schneider (Author)

A Buyer's Guide to Stem Cell Therapies: Safely Choose the Right Regenerative Treatment for You

Essentials of Stem Cell Biology
by Robert Lanza (Editor), Anthony Atala (Editor)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Right To Speak
Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? This hour, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech. Guests include recent college graduate Zachary Wood, political scientist Jeffrey Howard, novelist Elif Shafak, and journalist and author James Kirchick.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...