Translation from Microgravity Research to Earth Application

Dear Colleagues,

Microgravity provides a unique research environment and an opportunity to identify cellular mechanisms involved in gravity-sensing, regulation and adaptation responses at the cellular, tissue and organism level, covering animals, plants and humans. Microgravity research is, in many cases, a continuation of ground-based studies in microgravity analogues and simulations, as well as under increased gravitational (hypergravity) conditions, providing comprehensive and new knowledge on the regulation of cellular and sub-cellular functioning.  Furthermore, the microgravity environment is characterized by a lack of sedimentation, which facilitates the assembly of 3D cell constructions and bioprinting with innovative potential applications in tissue and bioengineering techniques. A prerequisite for long-lasting deep space missions is the knowledge of the effect of microgravity on key biological systems, such as the immune, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurosensory, neuroendocrine, excretory, respiratory system, their metabolism and homeostasis, focusing on molecular/cellular processes, but also the development of life support systems. There are many indications and already findings that pathophysiological changes observed during and after spaceflight represent models of a series of chronic diseases known from Earth. This Topic provides examples from microgravity studies with potential applications to Earth-related issues.

Prof. Dr. Daniela Grimm
Dr. Ruth Hemmersbach
Topic Editors

Deadline for abstract submissions: closed (31 October 2021).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Topic Board

Dr. Ruth Hemmersbach
E-Mail Website
Topic Editor
Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Gravitational Biology, German Aerospace Center, 51147 Cologne, Germany
Interests: gravitational biology; cell biology; simulation of microgravity

Relevant Journals List

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Biomedicines
biomedicines
6.081 3.6 2013 16.34 Days 2000 CHF Submit
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ijms
5.924 6.0 2000 14.32 Days 2000 CHF Submit

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Article
Simulated Microgravity Subtlety Changes Monoamine Function across the Rat Brain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11759; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms222111759 - 29 Oct 2021
Abstract
Microgravity, one of the conditions faced by astronauts during spaceflights, triggers brain adaptive responses that could have noxious consequences on behaviors. Although monoaminergic systems, which include noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT), are widespread neuromodulatory systems involved in adaptive behaviors, the influence [...] Read more.
Microgravity, one of the conditions faced by astronauts during spaceflights, triggers brain adaptive responses that could have noxious consequences on behaviors. Although monoaminergic systems, which include noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT), are widespread neuromodulatory systems involved in adaptive behaviors, the influence of microgravity on these systems is poorly documented. Using a model of simulated microgravity (SMG) during a short period in Long Evans male rats, we studied the distribution of monoamines in thirty brain regions belonging to vegetative, mood, motor, and cognitive networks. SMG modified NA and/or DA tissue contents along some brain regions belonging to the vestibular/motor systems (inferior olive, red nucleus, cerebellum, somatosensorily cortex, substantia nigra, and shell of the nucleus accumbens). DA and 5-HT contents were reduced in the prelimbic cortex, the only brain area exhibiting changes for 5-HT content. However, the number of correlations of one index of the 5-HT metabolism (ratio of metabolite and 5-HT) alone or in interaction with the DA metabolism was dramatically increased between brain regions. It is suggested that SMG, by mobilizing vestibular/motor systems, promotes in these systems early, restricted changes of NA and DA functions that are associated with a high reorganization of monoaminergic systems, notably 5-HT. Full article
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Article
Collagen XV Promotes ER Stress-Induced Inflammation through Activating Integrin β1/FAK Signaling Pathway and M1 Macrophage Polarization in Adipose Tissue
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(18), 9997; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22189997 - 16 Sep 2021
Abstract
Collagen XV (Col XV), a basement membrane (BM) component, is highly expressed in adipose tissue, and studies have found that Col XV is related to extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling involving in adipose tissue fibrosis and inflammation. Furthermore, the ECM is essential for maintaining [...] Read more.
Collagen XV (Col XV), a basement membrane (BM) component, is highly expressed in adipose tissue, and studies have found that Col XV is related to extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling involving in adipose tissue fibrosis and inflammation. Furthermore, the ECM is essential for maintaining normal development and tissue function. In this study, we found that Col XV is related to the endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and inflammation of adipose tissue. Moreover, we found that overexpression of Col XV in mice could cause macrophages to infiltrate white adipose tissue (iWAT). At the same time, the expression of the ERS sensor IRE1α (Inositol-Requiring Enzyme-1α) was significantly up-regulated, which intensified the inflammation of adipose tissue and the polarization of M1 macrophages after the overexpression of Col XV in mice. In addition, after overexpression of Col XV, the intracellular Ca2+ concentration was significantly increased. Using focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor PF573228, we found that PF-573228 inhibited the phosphorylation of FAK and reversed the upward trend of Col XV-induced protein expression levels of IRE1α, C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP), and 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78). After treatment with IRE1α inhibitor STF-083010, the results showed that the expression of adipocyte inflammation-related genes interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) significantly were decreased. Our results demonstrate that Col XV induces ER-stress in adipocytes by activating the Integrinβ1/FAK pathway and disrupting the intracellular Ca2+ balance. At the same time, Col XV regulates the inflammation induced by ER stress in adipocytes by promoting IRE1α/XBP1 (X-Box binding protein 1) signaling. Our study provides new ideas for solving the problems of adipose tissue metabolism disorders caused by abnormal accumulation of ECM. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Simulated Microgravity on Macrophage Phenotype
Biomedicines 2021, 9(9), 1205; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomedicines9091205 - 12 Sep 2021
Abstract
The effects of spaceflight, including prolonged exposure to microgravity, can have significant effects on the immune system and human health. Altered immune cell function can lead to adverse health events, though precisely how and to what extent a microgravity environment impacts these cells [...] Read more.
The effects of spaceflight, including prolonged exposure to microgravity, can have significant effects on the immune system and human health. Altered immune cell function can lead to adverse health events, though precisely how and to what extent a microgravity environment impacts these cells remains uncertain. Macrophages, a key immune cell, effect the inflammatory response as well as tissue remodeling and repair. Specifically, macrophage function can be dictated by phenotype that can exist between spectrums of M0 macrophage: the classically activated, pro-inflammatory M1, and the alternatively activated, pro-healing M2 phenotypes. This work assesses the effects of simulated microgravity via clinorotation on M0, M1, and M2 macrophage phenotypes. We focus on phenotypic, inflammatory, and angiogenic gene and protein expression. Our results show that across all three phenotypes, microgravity results in a decrease in TNF-α expression and an increase in IL-12 and VEGF expression. IL-10 was also significantly increased in M1 and M2, but not M0 macrophages. The phenotypic cytokine expression profiles observed may be related to specific gravisensitive signal transduction pathways previously implicated in microgravity regulation of macrophage gene and protein expression. Our results highlight the far-reaching effects that simulated microgravity has on macrophage function and provides insight into macrophage phenotypic function in microgravity. Full article
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