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Cell Culture in Microgravity: Opening the Door to Space Cell BiologyAdaptational response of human cell populations to microgravity is investigated using simulation, short-term Shuttle experiments, and long-term microgravity. Simulation consists of a clinostatically-rotated cell culture system. The system is a horizontally-rotated cylinder completely filled with culture medium. Low speed rotation results in continuous-fall of the cells through the fluid medium. In this setting, cells: 1) aggregate, 2) propagate in three dimensions, 3) synthesize matrix, 4) differentiate, and 5) form sinusoids that facilitate mass transfer. Space cell culture is conducted in flight bioreactors and in static incubators. Cells grown in microgravity are: bovine cartilage, promyelocytic leukemia, kidney proximal tubule cells, adrenal medulla, breast and colon cancer, and endothelium. Cells were cultured in space to test specific hypotheses. Cartilage cells were used to determine structural differences in cartilage grown in space compared to ground-based bioreactors. Results from a 130-day experiment on Mir revealed that cartilage grown in space was substantially more compressible due to insufficient glycosaminoglycan in the matrix. Interestingly, earth-grown cartilage conformed better to the dimensions of the scaffolding material, while the Mir specimens were spherical. The other cell populations are currently being analyzed for cell surface properties, gene expression, and differentiation. Results suggest that some cells spontaneously differentiate in microgravity. Additionally, vast changes in gene expression may occur in response to microgravity. In conclusion, the transition to microgravity may constitute a physical perturbation in cells resulting in unique gene expressions, the consequences of which may be useful in tissue engineering, disease modeling, and space cell biology.
Document ID
20000085929
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Pellis, Neal R. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Dawson, David L.
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
SIM 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting(Arlington, VA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.