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Does vector-free gravity simulate microgravity? Functional and morphologic attributes of clinorotated nerve and muscle grown in cell cultureCocultured Xenopus neurons and myocytes were subjected to non-vectorial gravity by clinostat rotation to determine if microgravity, during space flights, may affect cell development and communications. Clinorotated cells showed changes consistent with the hypothesis that cell differentiation, in microgravity, is altered by interference with cytoskeleton-related mechanisms. We found: increases in the myocyte and its nuclear area, "fragmentation" of nucleoli, appearance of neuritic "aneurysms", decreased growth in the presence of "trophic" factors, and decreased yolk utilization. The effects were most notable at 1-10 rpm and depended on the onset and duration of rotation. Some parameters returned to near control values within 48 hrs after cessation of rotation. Cells from cultures rotated at higher speeds (>50 rpm) appeared comparable to controls. Compensation by centrifugal forces may account for this finding. Our data are consistent, in principle, with effects on other, flighted cells and suggest that "vector-free" gravity may simulate certain aspects of microgravity. The distribution of acetylcholine receptor aggregates, on myocytes, was also altered. This indicates that brain development, in microgravity, may also be affected.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Gruener, R.
(University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson 85724, United States)
Hoeger, G.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1988
Publication Information
Publication: The Physiologist
Volume: 31
Issue: 1 Suppl
ISSN: 0031-9376
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Cell Biology
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Number 40-40
NASA Program Space Biology

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