The MARROW study (Bone Marrow Adipose Reaction: Red Or White?) (Marrow) - 05.25.16
The MARROW study (Bone Marrow Adipose Reaction: Red Or White?) (Marrow) investigation looks at the effect of microgravity on the bone marrow. It is believed that microgravity, like long-duration bed rest on Earth, has a negative effect on the bone marrow and the blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow. The extent of this effect, and its recovery, are of interest to space research and healthcare providers on Earth. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
Guy Trudel, MD, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Odette Laneuville, PhD, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Ian Cameron, PhD, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Adnan Sheikh, MD, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alain Stintzi, PhD, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tim Ramsay, PhD, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sponsoring Space Agency
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration 1
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2017
- Blood-producing cells share with fat cells the same confined space within the bone marrow. These fat cells grow at the expense of blood-producing cells during prolonged stays in bed on Earth. Therefore, accumulation of fat cells may directly impact blood cell production. Many abnormalities in red and white blood cells have been described in zero gravity that remain incompletely understood, and the explanation may reside in the bone marrow. Red and white blood cells are vital to long-duration space flights, and it is important to investigate changes in bone marrow fat to help explain blood changes in space and with long-duration stays in bed on Earth. This may lead to treatments that would enable safe human space exploration and better recovery from prolonged bed rest on Earth.
- The MARROW study (Bone Marrow Adipose Reaction: Red Or White?) (Marrow) investigation measures fat changes in the bone marrow before, and after exposure to microgravity. In addition, this investigation measures specific changes of red and white blood cell functions. Bone marrow fat is measured using magnetic resonance. Red blood cell function is measured with a breath sample analyzed with a gas chromatograph, and white blood cell function is studied through their genetic expression.
- This research produces the first data on bone marrow fat changes in microgravity, a vital organ responsible for the production of all red and white blood cells. The data helps to contribute more information to explain the mechanisms for space flight anemia (altered red blood cells), susceptibility to infection (altered white blood cells), thrombosis (platelets) in space, and similar conditions on Earth in people with decreased mobility or confined to bed for prolonged durations.
Spaceflight anemia and susceptibility to infection are major concerns for long duration space flights. Fat cells in the bone marrow may directly impact blood cell production, and this study will uncover how this is altered in microgravity. This knowledge may lead to propose, and test, mitigation strategies for future space exploration.
Life in microgravity reproduces many effects encountered on Earth by people during prolonged bed stays in intensive care, persons with reduced mobility or with aging. A better understanding of the relationship between fat cells and blood-producing cells in the bone marrow is key to minimize the impact of decreased activity in our society.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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