Muscle loading is important for maintaining muscle mass; when load is removed, atrophy is inevitable. However, in clinical situations such as critical care myopathy, masticatory muscles do not lose mass. Thus, their properties may be harnessed to preserve mass. We compared masticatory and appendicular muscles responses to microgravity, using mice aboard the space shuttle Space Transportation System-135. Age- and sex-matched controls remained on the ground. After 13 days of space flight, 1 masseter (MA) and tibialis anterior (TA) were frozen rapidly for biochemical and functional measurements, and the contralateral MA was processed for morphologic measurements. Flight TA muscles exhibited 20 +/- 3% decreased muscle mass, 2-fold decreased phosphorylated (P)-Akt, and 4- to 12-fold increased atrogene expression. In contrast, MAs had no significant change in mass but a 3-fold increase in P-focal adhesion kinase, 1.5-fold increase in P-Akt, and 50-90% lower atrogene expression compared with limb muscles, which were unaltered in microgravity. Myofibril force measurements revealed that microgravity caused a 3-fold decrease in specific force and maximal shortening velocity in TA muscles. It is surprising that myofibril-specific force from both control and flight MAs were similar to flight TA muscles, yet power was compromised by 40% following flight. Continued loading in microgravity prevents atrophy, but masticatory muscles have a different set point that mimics disuse atrophy in the appendicular muscle.-Philippou, A., Minozzo, F. C., Spinazzola, J. M., Smith, L. R., Lei, H., Rassier, D. E., Barton, E. R. Masticatory muscles of mouse do not undergo atrophy in space.
Research Containing: rodent
Skin physiology in microgravity: a 3-month stay aboard ISS induces dermal atrophy and affects cutaneous muscle and hair follicles cycling in mice
Aims: The Mice Drawer System (MDS) Tissue Sharing program was the longest rodent space mission ever performed. It provided 20 research teams with organs and tissues collected from mice having spent 3 months on the International Space Station (ISS). Our participation to this experiment aimed at investigating the impact of such prolonged exposure to extreme space conditions on mouse skin physiology. Methods: Mice were maintained in the MDS for 91 days aboard ISS (space group (S)). Skin specimens were collected shortly after landing for morphometric, biochemical, and transcriptomic analyses. An exact replicate of the experiment in the MDS was performed on ground (ground group (G)). Results: A significant reduction of dermal thickness (−15%, P=0.05) was observed in S mice accompanied by an increased newly synthetized procollagen (+42%, P=0.03), likely reflecting an increased collagen turnover. Transcriptomic data suggested that the dermal atrophy might be related to an early degradation of defective newly formed procollagen molecules. Interestingly, numerous hair follicles in growing anagen phase were observed in the three S mice, validated by a high expression of specific hair follicles genes, while only one mouse in the G controls showed growing hairs. By microarray analysis of whole thickness skin, we observed a significant modulation of 434 genes in S versus G mice. A large proportion of the upregulated transcripts encoded proteins related to striated muscle homeostasis. Conclusions: These data suggest that a prolonged exposure to space conditions may induce skin atrophy, deregulate hair follicle cycle, and markedly affect the transcriptomic repertoire of the cutaneous striated muscle panniculus carnosus.
A recent report shows that more than 30% of the astronauts returning from Space Shuttle missions or the International Space Station (ISS) were diagnosed with eye problems that can cause reduced visual acuity. We investigate here whether spaceflight environment-associated retinal damage might be related to oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial apoptosis. Female C57BL/6 mice were flown in the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135), and within 35 h of landing, the spaceflight and ground-control mice, similarly housed in animal enclosure modules (AEMs) were euthanized and their eyes were removed for analysis. Changes in expression of genes involved in oxidative stress, mitochondrial and endothelial cell biology were examined. Apoptosis in the retina was analyzed by caspase-3 immunocytochemical analysis and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay. Levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) protein, an oxidative specific marker for lipid peroxidation were also measured. Evaluation of spaceflight mice and AEM ground-control mice showed that expression of several genes playing central roles in regulating the mitochondria-associated apoptotic pathway were significantly altered in mouse ocular tissue after spaceflight compared to AEM ground-control mice. In addition, the mRNA levels of several genes, which are responsible for regulating the production of reactive oxygen species were also significantly up-regulated in spaceflight samples compared to AEM ground-control mice. Further more, the level of HNE protein was significantly elevated in the retina after spaceflight compared to controls. Our results also revealed that spaceflight conditions induced significant apoptosis in the retina especially inner nuclear layer (INL) and ganglion cell layer (GCL) compared to AEM ground controls. The data provided the first evidence that spaceflight conditions induce oxidative damage that results in mitochondrial apoptosis in the retina. This data suggest that astronauts may be at increased risk for late retinal degeneration.
Spaceflight provides a unique opportunity to study how physiologic responses are influenced by the external environment. Microgravity has been shown to alter the function of a number of tissues and organ systems. Very little, however, is known about how microgravity affects the oral cavity. The rodent model is useful for study in that their salivary gland morphology and physiology is similar to that of humans. Useful also is the fact that saliva, a product of the salivary glands with a major role in maintaining oral health, can be easily collected in humans whereas the glands can be studied in experimental animals. Our working hypothesis is that expression of secretory proteins in saliva will respond to microgravity and will be indicative of the nature of physiologic reactions to travel in space. This study was designed to determine which components of the salivary proteome are altered in mice flown on the US space shuttle missions and to determine if a subset with predictive value can be identified using microscopy and biochemistry methods. The results showed that the expression of secretory proteins associated with beta-adrenergic hormone regulated responses and mediated via the cyclic AMP pathway was significantly altered, whereas that of a number of unrelated proteins was not. The findings are potentially applicable to designing a biochemical test system whereby specific salivary proteins can be biomarkers for stress associated with travel in space and eventually for monitoring responses to conditions on earth.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitor cells with the ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondroblasts, myocytes, and adipocytes. They have potential for bone tissue engineering by the utilization of in vitro expanded cells with osteogenic capacity and their delivery to the appropriate sites via biomaterial scaffolds. The objective was to evaluate the potential of rat bone marrow MSCs to form 3D bone-like tissue by the use of mineralized poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) foam and osteoinductive medium under rotating culture conditions. PLGA foams were prepared by solvent casting and particulate leaching, then mineralized by incubating in simulated body fluid. MSCs isolated from the bone marrow of young Wistar rats were expanded and seeded on the mineralized scaffolds. The cell-polymer constructs were then cultured in a slow turning lateral vessel-type rotating bioreactor for 4 weeks under the effect of osteogenic inducers, b-glycerophosphate, ascorbic acid and dexamethasone. Mineralization was evaluated using FT-IR and increases in dry mass; morphology changes of the mineralized foams and cell adhesion was characterized by SEM; cell viability was monitored by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthia-zol-2-yl-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide). Osteogenic differentiation was determined by using immunohistochemistry (anti-Osteopontin). Results indicate the feasibility of bone tissue engineering with MSCs and mineralized PLGA scaffolds supporting cell adhesion, viability and osteogenic differentiation properties of cells in hybrid structures under appropriate bioreactor conditions.
For the first time pineal glands obtained from 5 male rats flown aboard an orbiting satellite (Soviet Biosatellite #1887) were analyzed for their melatonin, serotonin (5-HT), 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA), and calcium content. In addition, plasma 5-HT and 5-HIAA were measured. These parameters were compared to indicators of gonadal function: plasma testosterone concentration and spermatogonia development. Plasma melatonin was low at the time of euthanasia (lights on) and was not different among the experimental groups (flight animals, synchronous controls, and vivarium controls). Pineal calcium of flight animals was not different from ground controls. However, pineal 5-HT and 5-HIAA in the flight group were significantly higher than those in ground controls (p less than 0.05). These findings suggest a possible increase in pineal 5-HT turnover in flight animals which may result in increased melatonin secretion. Since melatonin is known to possess antigonadal properties, the alteration of pineal 5-HT turnover and its expected effects on melatonin secretion may, in part, explain the lower plasma testosterone levels (p less than 0.001) and 4-11% fewer spermatogonia cells (p less than 0.02) observed in flight animals.
Our previous results with flight (FLT) mice showed abnormalities in thymuses and spleens that have potential to compromise immune defense mechanisms. In this study, the organs were further evaluated in C57BL/6 mice after Space Shuttle Atlantis returned from a 13-day mission. Thymuses and spleens were harvested from FLT mice and ground controls housed in similar animal enclosure modules (AEM). Organ and body mass, DNA fragmentation and expression of genes related to T cells and cancer were determined. Although significance was not obtained for thymus mass, DNA fragmentation was greater in the FLT group (P<0.01). Spleen mass alone and relative to body mass was significantly decreased in FLT mice (P<0.05). In FLT thymuses, 6/84 T cell-related genes were affected versus the AEM control group (P<0.05; up: IL10, Il18bp, Il18r1, Spp1; down: Ccl7, IL6); 15/84 cancer-related genes had altered expression (P<0.05; up: Casp8, FGFR2, Figf, Hgf, IGF1, Itga4, Ncam1, Pdgfa, Pik3r1, Serpinb2, Sykb; down: Cdc25a, E2F1, Mmp9, Myc). In the spleen, 8/84 cancer-related genes were affected in FLT mice compared to AEM controls (P<0.05; up: Cdkn2a; down: Birc5, Casp8, Ctnnb1, Map2k1, Mdm2, NFkB1, Pdgfa). Pathway analysis (apoptosis signaling and checkpoint regulation) was used to map relationships among the cancer-related genes. The results showed that a relatively short mission in space had a significant impact on both organs. The findings also indicate that immune system aberrations due to stressors associated with space travel should be included when estimating risk for pathologies such as cancer and infection and in designing appropriate countermeasures. Although this was the historic last flight of NASA's Space Shuttle Program, exploration of space will undoubtedly continue.
Tissue-engineered conduit using urine-derived stem cells seeded bacterial cellulose polymer in urinary reconstruction and diversion
The objective of this study was to generate bacterial cellulose (BC) scaffolds seeded with human urine-derived stem cells (USC) to form a tissue-engineered conduit for use in urinary diversion. Microporous BC scaffolds were synthesized and USC were induced to differentiate into urothelial and smooth muscle cells (SMC). Induced USC (10(6) cells/cm(2)) were seeded onto BC under static and 3D dynamic (10 or 40 RPM) conditions and cultured for 2 weeks. The urothelial cells and SMC derived from USC formed multilayers on the BC scaffold surface, and some cells infiltrated into the scaffold. The urothelium derived from USC differentiation expressed urothelial markers (uroplakin la and AE1/AE3) and the SMC expressed SMC markers (a-smooth muscle actin and desmin). In addition, USC/BC scaffold constructs were implanted into athymic mice, and the cells were tracked using immunohistochemical staining for human nuclear antigen. In vivo, the cells appeared to differentiate and express urothelial and SMC markers. In conclusion, porous BC scaffolds allow 3 dimensional growth of USC, leading to formation of a multilayered urothelium and cell matrix infiltration. Thus, cell-seeded BC scaffolds hold promise for use in tissue-engineered urinary conduits for urinary reconstruction. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000283814600008
Effect of microgravity on the biomechanical properties of lumbar and caudal intervertebral discs in mice
Prolonged exposure to microgravity has shown to have deleterious effects on the human spine, indicated by low back pain during spaceflight and increased incidence of post-spaceflight herniated nucleus pulposus. We examined the effect of microgravity on biomechanical properties of lumbar and caudal discs from mice having been on 15-day shuttle mission STS-131. Sixteen C57BL/C mice (spaceflight group, n=8; ground-based control group, n=8) were sacrificed immediately after spaceflight. Physiological disc height (PDH) was measured in situ, and compressive creep tests were performed to parameterize biomechanical properties into endplate permeability (k), nuclear swelling pressure strain dependence (D), and annular viscoelasticity (G). For caudal discs, the spaceflight group exhibited 32% lower PDH, 70% lower D and crept more compared to the control mice (p=0.03). For lumbar discs, neither PDH nor D was significantly different between murine groups. Initial modulus, osmotic pressure, k and G for lumbar and caudal discs did not appear influenced by microgravity (p>0.05). Decreases in both PDH and D suggest prolonged microgravity effectively diminished biomechanical properties of caudal discs. By contrast, differences were not noted for lumbar discs. This potentially deleterious interaction between prolonged weightlessness and differential ranges of motion along the spine may underlie the increased cervical versus lumbar disc herniation rates observed among astronauts.
Reinterpretation of mouse thyroid changes under space conditions: the contribution of confinement to damage
During space missions, astronauts work in a state of separation from their daily social environment and in physical confinement. It has been shown that confinement influences mood and brain cortical activity, but no data has been obtained with regard to its effect on the thyroid gland, the structure and function of which change during spaceflights. Here, we report the results of a study on the effects of confinement on mouse thyroid, which was implemented with the Mice Drawer System Facility maintained on the ground, a system used for spaceflight experiments. The results show that confinement changes the microscopic structure of the thyroid gland and that it exhibits symptoms similar to those that result from physiological and/or pathological hyperfunction. What is left unchanged, however, is the sphingomyelinase-thyrotropin receptor relationship, which is important for thyrotropin response with a consequential production of hormones that act on the metabolism of almost all tissues and reduces the production of calcitonin, a hormone involved in bone metabolism. During space missions, the overexpression of pleiotrophin, a widespread cytokine up-regulated after tissue injury that acts on bone remodeling, attenuates changes to the thyroid that are spaceflight-dependent; therefore we studied the thyroids of pleiotrophin-transgenic mice in the Mice Drawer System Facility. In confinement, pleiotrophin overexpression does not protect from the loss of calcitonin. The contribution of confinement to thyroid damage during spaceflights is discussed.