As part of the Matroshka-R experiments, a spherical phantom and space bubble detectors (SBDs) were used on board the International Space Station to characterise the neutron radiation field. Seven experimental sessions with SBDs were carried out during expeditions ISS-13, ISS-14 and ISS-15. The detectors were positioned at various places throughout the Space Station, in order to determine dose variations with location and on/in the phantom in order to establish the relationship between the neutron dose measured externally to the body and the dose received internally. Experimental data on/in the phantom and at different locations are presented.
Research Containing: Models
The International Space Station (ISS) is becoming a reality with the docking of the Russian Service module (Zarya) with the Unity module (Zaveda). ISS will be in a nominal 51.65-degree inclination by 400 km orbit. This paper reviews the currently planned radiation measurements, which are in many instances, based on experiments previously flown on the Space Shuttle. Results to be expected based on Shuttle measurements are presented.
Bone formation and structure have been shown repeatedly to be altered after spaceflight. However, it is not known whether these changes are related to a stress-related altered status of the corticosteroid axis. We investigated the role of corticosteroids on spaceflight-induced effects in rat pelvis and thoracic vertebrae. Thirty-six male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to a flight, flight control, or vivarium group (n = 12/group). Bilateral adrenalectomy was performed in six rats per group, the additional six rats undergoing sham surgery. Adrenalectomized (ADX) rats were implanted with corticosteroid pellets. On recovery from spaceflight, thoracic vertebrae and the whole pelvis were removed and processed for biochemistry, histomorphometry, or bone cell culture studies. The 17-day spaceflight resulted in decreased bone volume (BV) in the cotyle area of pelvic bones (-12%; p < 0.05) associated with approximately 50% inhibition of bone formation in the cancellous area of pelvic metaphyses and in thoracic vertebral bodies. The latter effect was associated with a decreased number of endosteal bone cells isolated from the bone surface (BS) in these samples (-42%; p < 0.05). This also was associated with a decreased number of alkaline phosphatase positive (ALP+) endosteal bone cells at 2 days and 4 days of culture, indicating decreased osteoblast precursor cell recruitment. Maintaining basal serum corticosterone levels in flight-ADX rats did not counteract the impaired bone formation in vertebral or pelvic bones. Moreover, the decreased ex vivo number of total and ALP+ endosteal bone cells induced by spaceflight occurred independent of endogenous corticosteroid hormone levels. These results indicate that the microgravity-induced inhibition of bone formation and resulting decreased trabecular bone mass in specific areas of weight-bearing skeleton in growing rats occur independently of endogenous glucocorticoid secretion.
Astronauts experience bone loss after the long spaceflight missions. Identifying specific regions that undergo the greatest losses (e.g. the proximal femur) could reveal information about the processes of bone loss in disuse and disease. Methods for detecting such regions, however, remains an open problem. This paper focuses on statistical methods to detect such regions. We perform statistical parametric mapping to get t-maps of changes in images, and propose a new cross-validation method to select an optimum suprathreshold for forming clusters of pixels. Once these candidate clusters are formed, we use permutation testing of longitudinal labels to derive significant changes.
Vision changes after spaceflight are related to alterations in folate- and vitamin B-12-dependent one-carbon metabolism
Approximately 20% (7 of 38) of astronauts on International Space Station (ISS) missions have developed measurable ophthalmic changes after flight. This study was conducted to determine if the folate- and vitamin B-12-dependent 1-carbon metabolic pathway is altered in these individuals. Since 2006, we have conducted experiments on the ISS to evaluate nutritional status and related biochemical indices of astronauts before, during, and after flight. Data were modeled to evaluate differences between individuals with ophthalmic changes (n = 5) and those without them (n = 15), all of whom were on ISS missions of 48-215 d. We also determined whether mean preflight serum concentrations of the 1-carbon metabolites and changes in measured cycloplegic refraction after flight were associated. Serum homocysteine (Hcy), cystathionine, 2-methylcitric acid (2MCA), and methylmalonic acid concentrations were 25-45% higher (P < 0.001) in astronauts with ophthalmic changes than in those without them. These differences existed before, during, and after flight. Preflight serum concentrations of Hcy and cystathionine, and mean in-flight serum folate, were correlated with change (postflight relative to preflight) values in refraction (P < 0.05), and preflight serum concentrations of 2MCA tended to be associated (P = 0.06) with ophthalmic changes. The biochemical differences observed in crewmembers with vision issues strongly suggest that their folate- and vitamin B-12-dependent 1-carbon transfer metabolism was affected before and during flight. The consistent differences in markers of 1-carbon metabolism between those who did and those who did not develop changes in vision suggest that polymorphisms in enzymes of this pathway may interact with microgravity to cause these pathophysiologic changes.
Using fetal thymus organ culture (FTOC), we examined the effects of spaceflight and vector-averaged gravity on T cell development. Under both conditions, the development of T cells was significantly attenuated. Exposure to spaceflight for 16 days resulted in a loss of precursors for CD4+, CD8+, and CD4+CD8+ T cells in a rat/mouse xenogeneic co-culture. A significant decrease in the same precursor cells, as well as a decrease in CD4-CD8- T cell precursors, was also observed in a murine C57BL/6 FTOC after rotation in a clinostat to produce a vector-averaged microgravity-like environment. The block in T cell development appeared to occur between the pre-T cell and CD4+CD8+ T cell stage. These data indicate that gravity plays a decisive role in the development of T cells.
Simulated Microgravity Maintains the Undifferentiated State and Enhances the Neural Repair Potential of Bone Marrow Stromal Cells
Recently, regenerative medicine with bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) has gained significant attention for the treatment of central nervous system diseases. Here, we investigated the activity of BMSCs under simulated microgravity conditions. Mouse BMSCs (mBMSCs) were isolated from C57BL/6 mice and harvested in 1G condition. Subjects were divided into 4 groups: cultured under simulated microgravity and 1G condition in growth medium and neural differentiation medium. After 7 days of culture, the mBMSCs were used for morphological analysis, reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction, immunostaining analysis, and grafting. Neural-induced mBMSCs cultured under 1G conditions exhibited neural differentiation, whereas those cultured under simulated microgravity did not. Moreover, under simulated microgravity conditions, mBMSCs could be cultured in an undifferentiated state. Next, we intravenously injected cells into a mouse model of cerebral contusion. Graft mBMSCs cultured under simulated microgravity exhibited greater survival in the damaged region, and the motor function of the grafted mice improved significantly. mBMSCs cultured under simulated microgravity expressed CXCR4 on their cell membrane. Our study indicates that culturing cells under simulated microgravity enhances their survival rate by maintaining an undifferentiated state of cells, making this a potentially attractive method for culturing donor cells to be used in grafting.
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000290255300013
We have levitated, for the first time, living biological specimens, embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis, using a large inhomogeneous magnetic field. The magnetic field/field gradient product required for levitation was 1430 kG2/cm, consistent with the embryo's susceptibility being dominated by the diamagnetism of water and protein. We show that unlike any other earth-based technique, magnetic field gradient levitation of embryos reduces the body forces and gravity-induced stresses on them. We discuss the use of large inhomogeneous magnetic fields as a probe for gravitationally sensitive phenomena in biological specimens.
Multipotent neural precursors can be cultured in suspension bioreactors as aggregates of stem cells and progenitor cells. However, it is important to limit the size of the aggregates, as necrotic centers may develop at very large diameters. Previously, we have shown that the hydrodynamics within a suspension bioreactor can be used to control the diameter of NSC aggregates (D-MAVO < 150 μm) below sizes where necrosis would be expected to occur. In the present study, power law correlations were developed for our bioreactors showing the dependence of the maximum mean aggregate diameter on both the kinematic viscosity of the medium and the power input per unit mass of medium, The power input was manipulated by changing the agitation rate (60-100 rpm), and the viscosity was manipulated through the addition of non-toxic levels of carboxymethylcellulose. The study also confirmed that the maximum liquid shear generated at the surface of the aggregates was sufficient to dislodge single cells, thus limiting the maximum diameter of the aggregates, without causing cell damage (τ(max) = 9.76 dyn/cm(2)). This is a first step in the development of a reproducible, scaled-up process for the production of neural stem cells for therapeutic applications including the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and acute central nervous system injuries. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000175354200011
Microgravity (microXg) leads to a 10-15% loss of bone mass in astronauts during space flight. Osteoclast (OCL) is the multinucleated bone-resorbing cell. In this study, we used the NASA developed ground-based rotating wall vessel bioreactor (RWV), rotary cell culture system (RCCS) to simulate microXg conditions and demonstrated a significant increase (2-fold) in osteoclastogenesis compared to normal gravity control (Xg). Gene expression profiling of RAW 264.7 OCL progenitor cells in modelled microXg by Agilent microarray analysis revealed significantly increased expression of critical molecules such as cytokines/growth factors, proteases and signalling proteins, which play an important role in enhanced OCL differentiation/function. Transcription factors such as c-Jun, MITF and CREB implicated in OCL differentiation are upregulated; however no significant change in the levels of NFATc1 expression in preosteoclast cells subjected to modelled microXg. We also identified high-level expression of calcium-binding protein, S100A8 (calcium-binding protein molecule A8/calgranulin A) in preosteoclast cells under microXg. Furthermore, modelled microXg stimulated RAW 264.7 cells showed elevated cytosolic calcium (Ca(2+)) levels/oscillations compared to Xg cells. siRNA knock-down of S100A8 expression in RAW 264.7 cells resulted in a significant decrease in modelled microXg stimulated OCL differentiation. We also identified elevated levels of phospho-CREB in preosteoclast cells subjected to modelled microXg compared to Xg. Thus, modelled microXg regulated gene expression profiling in preosteoclast cells provide new insights into molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of enhanced OCL differentiation/activation to prevent bone loss and fracture risk in astronauts during space flight missions.