Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly) - 07.14.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Spaceflight causes a rapid loss of bone and muscle mass especially in the legs and spine, with symptoms similar to those experienced by people with muscle wasting diseases or with limited mobility on Earth. Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly), sponsored by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, studies molecular and physical changes in the musculoskeletal system that happen in space. Results expand scientists’ understanding of muscle atrophy and bone loss in space, while testing an antibody that has been known to prevent muscle wasting in mice on Earth.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Louis S. Stodieck, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Rodent Research-3

Principal Investigator(s)
Rosamund Smith, Ph.D., Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Marty Cramer, M.S., Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, United States

Developer(s)
BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Earth Benefits

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
45/46,47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The spaceflight environment is known to cause muscle loss, similar to disuse and muscle wasting diseases on Earth.
  • Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly) further expands understanding of muscle atrophy and bone loss in space and provides data that complements similar past studies.
  • In addition to the primary research focus on musculoskeletal systems, other organ systems are also studied for molecular and morphological changes as a function of duration of spaceflight exposure, further supporting the use of mice to model deleterious effects of spaceflight in astronauts, potential diseases that affect people on Earth and aging, more broadly.

Description

Mice have been shown on previous spaceflight studies to undergo rapid loss of muscle and bone mass. These losses have occurred in as little as 12 days of spaceflight exposure. The muscles and bones most affected are in the hind limbs and spine, which is similar to effects reported in humans (astronauts). As such, mice appear to be a potentially valuable model for spaceflight-induced musculoskeletal disuse. Muscle atrophy and bone loss in space occurs rapidly and without any other confounding complications that might be associated with other mouse models such as hind limb suspension, sciatic nerve or spinal cord injury, casting, administration of neuro or muscle toxins, ovariectomy, or any other form of immobilization or hormonal ablation treatment. Mice exposed to spaceflight have proved to be a valuable model to understand, target and treat causes of disuse muscle atrophy and bone loss, including modeling serious muscle and bone disease such as muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer cachexia, severe osteoporosis and even musculoskeletal frailty with aging.
 
Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly) further expands the understanding of muscle atrophy and bone loss in space using and providing data that complements similar past studies (Rodent Research-1 and Rodent Research-2). In addition to the primary research focus on musculoskeletal systems, other organ systems are also studied for molecular and morphological changes as a function of duration of spaceflight exposure, further supporting the use of mice to model deleterious effects of spaceflight in astronauts, potential diseases that affect people on Earth and aging, more broadly.

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Applications

Space Applications
Crew members experience major changes in their bone density and muscle mass after only a few days in orbit. These effects are most obvious in the body parts that bear weight on the ground, especially the legs, hips and spine. Exercise is so far the only way to counteract these effects, but is still insufficient. This investigation uses mice as a model for human health to study whether certain drugs might prevent muscle or bone loss while in microgravity. Ultimately, drugs could progress to human trials and may be used on future space missions to maintain crew members’ physical health during long-duration missions.

Earth Applications
Numerous diseases or physical impairments cause bone and muscle loss, including muscular dystrophy, cancer, spinal cord injury and the aging process. Patients on extended bed rest also experience similar physical changes. Results from this investigation could lead to new treatments for bone- and muscle-wasting diseases on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Twenty mice are flown for this experiment. The samples are returned via Dragon. Health and status data are downlinked daily.

Once the animals reach the ISS, the animal habitats are configured to receive the animals and are installed in EXPRESS rack. At specified times the animals are transferred from habitat to the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox (MSG) to perform experimental procedures such as injections or dissections. At the end of the experiment, animals are euthanized and dissected. The frozen tissue samples are stored in MELFI and fixed tissue samples are stored in ambient stowage. After the final dissection day procedures are completed the habitats are bagged and stowed. The hardware and the tissue samples are returned to Earth for recovery.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery