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Simulated conditions of microgravity suppress progesterone production by luteal cells of the pregnant ratThe purpose of this study was to assess whether simulated conditions of microgravity induce changes in the production of progesterone by luteal cells of the pregnant rat ovary using an in vitro model system. The microgravity environment was simulated using either a high aspect ratio vessel (HARV) bioreactor with free fall or a clinostat without free fall of cells. A mixed population of luteal cells isolated from the corpora lutea of day 8 pregnant rats was attached to cytodex microcarrier beads (cytodex 3). These anchorage dependent cells were placed in equal numbers in the HARV or a spinner flask control vessel in culture conditions. It was found that HARV significantly reduced the daily production of progesterone from day 1 through day 8 compared to controls. Scanning electron microscopy showed that cells attached to the microcarrier beads throughout the duration of the experiment in both types of culture vessels. Cells cultured in chamber slide flasks and placed in a clinostat yielded similar results when compared to those in the HARV. Also, when they were stained by Oil Red-O for lipid droplets, the clinostat flasks showed a larger number of stained cells compared to control flasks at 48 h. Further, the relative amount of Oil Red-O staining per milligram of protein was found to be higher in the clinostat than in the control cells at 48 h. It is speculated that the increase in the level of lipid content in cells subjected to simulated conditions of microgravity may be due to a disruption in cholesterol transport and/or lesions in the steroidogenic pathway leading to a fall in the synthesis of progesterone. Additionally, the fall in progesterone in simulated conditions of microgravity could be due to apoptosis of luteal cells.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Bhat, G. K. (Morehouse School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia 30310, United States)
Yang, H.
Sridaran, R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of gravitational physiology : a journal of the International Society for Gravitational Physiology
Volume: 8
Issue: 2
ISSN: 1077-9248
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits