Bone marrow cells were isolated from the humeri of C57BL/6 mice after a 13-day flight on the space shuttle Space Transportation System (STS)-118 to determine how spaceflight affects differentiation of cells in the granulocytic lineage. We used flow cytometry to assess the expression of molecules that define the maturation/activation state of cells in the granulocytic lineage on three bone marrow cell subpopulations. These molecules included Ly6C, CD11b, CD31 (platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1), Ly6G (Gr-1), F4/80, CD44, and c-Fos. The three subpopulations were small agranular cells [region (R)1], larger granular cells (R2), which were mostly neutrophils, and very large, very granular cells (R3), which had properties of macrophages. Although there were no composite phenotypic differences between total bone marrow cells isolated from spaceflight and ground-control mice, there were subpopulation differences in Ly6C (R1 and R3), CD11b (R2), CD31 (R1, R2, and R3), Ly6G (R3), F4/80 (R3), CD44(high) (R3), and c-Fos (R1, R2, and R3). In particular, the elevation of CD11b in the R2 subpopulation suggests neutrophil activation in response to landing. In addition, decreases in Ly6C, c-Fos, CD44(high), and Ly6G and an increase in F4/80 suggest that the cells in the bone marrow R3 subpopulation of spaceflight mice were more differentiated compared with ground-control mice. The presence of more differentiated cells may not pose an immediate risk to immune resistance. However, the reduction in less differentiated cells may forebode future consequences for macrophage production and host defenses. This is of particular importance to considerations of future long-term spaceflights.
Research Containing: Differentiation/metabolism
Simulated microgravity promoted differentiation of bipotential murine oval liver stem cells by modulating BMP4/Notch1 signaling
Faster growth and differentiation of liver stem cells to hepatocyte is one of the key factors during liver regeneration. In recent years, simulated microgravity, a physical force has shown to differentially regulate the differentiation and proliferation of stem cells. In the present work, we studied the effect of simulated microgravity on differentiation and proliferation of liver stem cells. The cells were subjected to microgravity, which was simulated using indigenously fabricated 3D clinostat. Proliferation, apoptosis, immunofluorescence assays and Western blot analysis were carried out to study the effects of simulated microgravity on liver stem cells. Microgravity treatment for 2 h enhanced proliferation of stem cells by twofold without inducing apoptosis and compromising cell viability. Analysis of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-alpha (HNF4-alpha) expression after 2 h of microgravity treatment revealed that microgravity alone can induce the differentiation of stem cells within 2-3 days. Probing bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP4) and Notch1 in microgravity treated stem cells elaborated downregulation of Notch1 and upregulation of BMP4 after 2 days of incubation. Further, blocking BMP4 using dorsomorphin and chordin conditioned media from chordin plasmid transfected cells attenuated microgravity mediated differentiation of liver stem cells. In conclusion, microgravity interplays with BMP4/Notch1 signaling in stem cells thus inducing differentiation of stem cells to hepatocytes. Present findings can be implicated in clinical studies where microgravity activated stem cells can regenerate the liver efficiently after liver injury.