Motility and aging in Drosophila have proven to be highly modified under altered gravity conditions (both in space and ground simulation facilities). In order to find out how closely connected they are, five strains with altered geotactic response or survival rates were selected and exposed to an altered gravity environment of 2g. By analysing the different motile and behavioural patterns and the median survival rates, we show that altered gravity leads to changes in motility, which will have a negative impact on the flies’ survival. Previous results show a differential gene expression between sessile samples and adults and confirm that environmentally-conditioned behavioural patterns constrain flies’ gene expression and life span. Therefore, hypergravity is considered an environmental stress factor and strains that do not respond to this new environment experience an increment in motility, which is the major cause for the observed increased mortality also under microgravity conditions. The neutral-geotaxis selected strain (strain M) showed the most severe phenotype, unable to respond to variations in the gravitational field. Alternatively, the opposite phenotype was observed in positive-geotaxis and long-life selected flies (strains B and L, respectively), suggesting that these populations are less sensitive to alterations in the gravitational load. We conclude that the behavioural response has a greater contribution to aging than the modified energy consumption in altered gravity environments.
Research Containing: Animals
Simulated spaceflight produces a rapid and sustained loss of osteoprogenitors and an acute but transitory rise of osteoclast precursors in two genetic strains of mice
Shahnazari M, Kurimoto P, Boudignon BM, Orwoll BE, Bikle DD, Halloran BP. Simulated spaceflight produces a rapid and sustained loss of osteoprogenitors and an acute but transitory rise of osteoclast precursors in two genetic strains of mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 303: E1354-E1362, 2012. First published October 9, 2012; doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00330.2012.-Loss of skeletal weight bearing or skeletal unloading as occurs during spaceflight inhibits bone formation and stimulates bone resorption. These are associated with a decline in the osteoblast (Ob.S/BS) and an increase in the osteoclast (Oc.S/BS) bone surfaces. To determine the temporal relationship between changes in the bone cells and their marrow precursor pools during sustained unloading, and whether genetic background influences these relationships, we used the hindlimb unloading model to induce bone loss in two strains of mice known to respond to load and having significantly different cancellous bone volumes (C57BL/6 and DBA/2 male mice). Skeletal unloading caused a progressive decline in bone volume that was accompanied by strain-specific changes in Ob.S/BS and Oc.S/BS. These were associated with a sustained reduction in the osteoprogenitor population and a dramatic but transient increase in the osteoclast precursor pool size in both strains. The results reveal that bone adaptation to skeletal unloading involves similar rapid changes in the osteoblast and osteoclast progenitor populations in both strains of mice but striking differences in Oc.S/BS dynamics, BFR, and cancellous bone structure. These strain-specific differences suggest that genetics plays an important role in determining the osteoblast and osteoclast populations on the bone surface and the dynamics of bone loss in response to skeletal unloading.
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Modeled Microgravity Sensitizes Osteoclast Precursors to RANKL Mediated Osteoclastogenesis by Increasing DAP12
Mechanical forces are essential to maintain skeletal integrity, and microgravity exposure leads to bone loss. The underlying molecular mechanisms leading to the changes in osteoblasts and osteoclast differentiation and function remain to be fully elucidated. Because of the infrequency of spaceflights and payload constraints, establishing in vitro and in vivo systems that mimic microgravity conditions becomes necessary. We have established a simulated microgravity (modeled microgravity, MMG) system to study the changes induced in osteoclast precursors. We observed that MMG, on its own, was unable to induce osteoclastogenesis of osteoclast precursors; however, 24 h of MMG activates osteoclastogenesis-related signaling molecules ERK, p38, PLCgamma2, and NFATc1. Receptor activator of NFkB ligand (RANKL) (with or without M-CSF) stimulation for 3-4 days in gravity of cells that had been exposed to MMG for 24 h enhanced the formation of very large tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive multinucleated (>30 nuclei) osteoclasts accompanied by an upregulation of the osteoclast marker genes TRAP and cathepsin K. To validate the in vitro system, we studied the hindlimb unloading (HLU) system using BALB/c mice and observed a decrease in BMD of femurs and a loss of 3D microstructure of both cortical and trabecular bone as determined by micro-CT. There was a marked stimulation of osteoclastogenesis as determined by the total number of TRAP-positive multinucleated osteoclasts formed and also an increase in RANKL-stimulated osteoclastogenesis from precursors removed from the tibias of mice after 28 days of HLU. In contrast to earlier reported findings, we did not observe any histomorphometric changes in the bone formation parameters. Thus, the foregoing observations indicate that microgravity sensitizes osteoclast precursors for increased differentiation. The in vitro model system described here is potentially a valid system for testing drugs for preventing microgravity-induced bone loss by targeting the molecular events occurring in microgravity-induced enhanced osteoclastogenesis.
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Utilization of the aquatic research facility and fertilization syringe unit to study sea urchin development in space
Methods were developed for the investigation of the effects of microgravity on early development in sea urchins within the Canadian Space Agency's Aquatic Research Facility (ARF). The ARF payload provided light, temperature control, automated fixation capability, and a 1 G on-orbit centrifuge control. Eggs and embryos of either the sea urchin species Lytechinus pictus or Strongylocentrotus purpuratus were loaded into Standard Container Assemblies (SCAs) which comprised the experimental aquaria (33 mL volume) contained within the ARF. A newly developed Fertilization Syringe Unit (FSU) was used to achieve "in-flight" fertilization capability. Fixative solutions were preloaded into fixation blocks maintained adjacent to the SCAs and injected at pre-selected time points, resulting in final (diluted) concentrations of either 0.5% or 2% glutaraldehyde (depending upon embryonic stage). Light, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy determined that all desired embryonic and cell division stages (16-cell stage, blastula, gastrula, and pluteus) were preserved using the experimental protocols and fixation capability provided by the ARF/FSU system.
For long-term exposure to space it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanisms for altered physiological functions. We have chosen the sea urchin system to study the effects of microgravity on various cellular processes visible during fertilization and subsequent development. We report here on experiments performed on NASA's KC-135 during parabolic flight trajectories to validate procedures to be implemented as part of the first Aquatic Research Facility Space Shuttle experiment on STS-77.
Modulation of Pleurodeles waltl DNA polymerase mu expression by extreme conditions encountered during spaceflight
DNA polymerase micro is involved in DNA repair, V(D)J recombination and likely somatic hypermutation of immunoglobulin genes. Our previous studies demonstrated that spaceflight conditions affect immunoglobulin gene expression and somatic hypermutation frequency. Consequently, we questioned whether Polmu expression could also be affected. To address this question, we characterized Polmu of the Iberian ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl and exposed embryos of that species to spaceflight conditions or to environmental modifications corresponding to those encountered in the International Space Station. We noted a robust expression of Polmu mRNA during early ontogenesis and in the testis, suggesting that Polmu is involved in genomic stability. Full-length Polmu transcripts are 8-9 times more abundant in P. waltl than in humans and mice, thereby providing an explanation for the somatic hypermutation predilection of G and C bases in amphibians. Polmu transcription decreases after 10 days of development in space and radiation seem primarily involved in this down-regulation. However, space radiation, alone or in combination with a perturbation of the circadian rhythm, did not affect Polmu protein levels and did not induce protein oxidation, showing the limited impact of radiation encountered during a 10-day stay in the International Space Station.
Cell-based therapies have generated great interest in the scientific and medical communities, and stem cells in particular are very appealing for regenerative medicine, drug screening and other biomedical applications. These unspecialized cells have unlimited self-renewal capacity and the remarkable ability to produce mature cells with specialized functions, such as blood cells, nerve cells or cardiac muscle. However, the actual number of cells that can be obtained from available donors is very low. One possible solution for the generation of relevant numbers of cells for several applications is to scale-up the culture of these cells in vitro. This review describes recent developments in the cultivation of stem cells in bioreactors, particularly considerations regarding critical culture parameters, possible bioreactor configurations, and integration of novel technologies in the bioprocess development stage. We expect that this review will provide updated and detailed information focusing on the systematic production of stem cell products in compliance with regulatory guidelines, while using robust and cost-effective approaches. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Enhanced cardiac differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells by use of the slow-turning, lateral vessel (STLV) bioreactor
Embryoid body (EB) formation is a common intermediate during in vitro differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into specialized cell types. We have optimized the slow-turning, lateral vessel (STLV) for large scale and homogenous EB production from mouse embryonic stem cells. The effects of inoculating different cell numbers, time of EB adherence to gelatin-coated dishes, and rotation speed for optimal EB formation and cardiac differentiation were investigated. Using 3 x 10(5) cells/ml, 10 rpm rotary speed and plating of EBs onto gelatin-coated surfaces three days after culture, were the best parameters for optimal size and EB quality on consequent cardiac differentiation. These optimized parameters enrich cardiac differentiation in ES cells when using the STLV method.
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The second generation of the incubator hardware for studying avian embryogenesis under microgravity conditions
This paper describes a technical device, INCUBATOR 1M, which enables incubation of Japanese quail eggs aboard the piloted orbital station.