Microgravity was simulated with a rotating wall vessel bioreactor (RWVB) in order to study its effect on pre-implantation embryonic development in mice. Three experimental groups were used: stationary control, rotational control and clinostat rotation. Three experiments were performed as follows. The first experiment showed that compared with the other two (control) groups, embryonic development was significantly retarded after 72 h in the clinostat rotation group. The second experiment showed that more nitric oxide (NO) was produced in the culture medium in the clinostat rotation group after 72 h (P < 0.05), and the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in this group was significantly higher than in the controls (P < 0.01). In the third experiment, we studied apoptosis in the pre-implantation mouse embryos after 72 h in culture and found that Annexin-V staining was negative in the normal (stationary and rotational control) embryos, but the developmentally retarded (clinostat rotation) embryos showed a strong green fluorescence. These results indicate that microgravity induced developmental retardation and cell apoptosis in the mouse embryos. We presume that these effects are related to the higher concentration of NO in the embryos under microgravity, which have cause cytotoxic consequences. (c) 2006 International Federation for Cell Biology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000244297300004