Investigation of the Osteoclastic and Osteoblastic Responses to Microgravity Using Goldfish Scales (Fish Scales) - 09.23.15

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Investigation of the Osteoclastic and Osteoblastic Responses to Microgravity Using Goldfish Scales (Fish Scales) will examine regenerating scales collected from anesthetized goldfish in microgravity using the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF); the results will be compared with ground controls.
Science Results for Everyone
There is something fishy about this investigation. Researchers examine regeneration of goldfish scales in microgravity to help understand bone loss in humans during space flights. A medicine similar to melatonin is also investigated for its effectiveness in reducing bone resorption, the process where bone cells break down and release calcium. Changes in the fish scales and results from ground studies on rats indicate that this drug could significantly increase bone mineral density, both in space and on the ground. The results could help future space explorers on long-duration missions and treatment of bone disease on Earth.

The following content was provided by Nobuo Suzuki, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Nobuo Suzuki, Ph.D., Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan

Nobuaki Shimizu, Kanazawa University, Ishikawa, Japan
Kei-ichiro Kitamura, Kanazawa University, Ishikawa, Japan
Atsuhiko Hattori, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Chiba, Japan
Masayuki Nara, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Makoto J. Tabata, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan
Masahisa Nakamura, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Mika Ikegame, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan
Takashi Kondo, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
Kouhei Matsuda, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
Katsunori Omori, Ph.D., Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency, Ibaraki, Japan

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration 1
March 2010 - September 2010

Expeditions Assigned

Previous ISS Missions
Fish Scales is scheduled for its first operations on ISS Increment 23/24.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • In mammals bone is formed and maintained by continuous remodeling through bone resorption by resorptive cells, i.e., osteoclasts, and subsequent new bone formation by formative cells, i.e., osteoblasts.

  • Regulation of Bone Metabolism in Space: Analysis by an in vitro Assay System Using Goldfish Scale as a Model of Bone (Fish Scales) uses osteoblasts and osteoclasts in the regenerating scales of goldfish to examine the effect of microgravity on bone metabolism.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
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Earth Applications
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Operational Requirements
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Operational Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

Fish Scales demonstrated that osteoclastic bone resorption occurred together with morphological changes of osteoclasts. In addition, it was also observed that 1-benzyl-2, 4, 6-tribromomelatonin increased the scale of osteoblastic marker expression but suppressed that of osteoclastic marker expression. On the ground basis experiment, the oral administration of this chemical augmented the total bone mineral density of the femoral metaphysis of ovariectomized rats. In rats fed a low-calcium diet, the total bone mineral density of the femoral metaphysis significantly increased following the oral administration of this melatonin derivative. In this space experiment, it was demonstrated that bone resorption was actually observed using the fish scales and indicated that a novel melatonin derivative may have a potential application in the treatment of bone diseases, such as those experienced in spaceflight.

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Results Publications

    Suzuki N, Kitamura K, Nemoto T, Shimizu N, Wada S, Kondo T, Tabata MJ, Sodeyama F, Ijiri K, Hattori A.  Effect of vibration on osteoblastic and osteoclastic activities: Analysis of bone metabolism using goldfish scale as a model for bone. Advances in Space Research. 2007 January; 40(11): 1711-1721. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2007.04.104.

    Thamamongood TA, Furuya R, Fukuba S, Nakamura M, Suzuki N, Hattori A.  Expression of osteoblastic and osteoclastic genes during spontaneous regeneration and autotransplantation of goldfish scale: A new tool to study intramembranous bone regeneration. Bone. 2012 June; 50(6): 1240-1249. DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2012.03.021.

    Suzuki N, Kitamura K, Omori K, Nemoto T, Satoh Y, Tabata MJ, Ikegame M, Yamamoto T, Ijiri K, Furusawa Y, Kondo T, Takasaki I, Tabuchi Y, Wada S, Shimizu N, Sasayama Y, Endo M, Takeuchi T, Nara M, Somei M, Maruyama Y, Hayakawa K, Shimazu T, Shigeto Y, Yano S, Hattori A.  Response of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in regenerating scales to gravity loading. Biological Sciences in Space. 2009; 23(4): 211-217. DOI: 10.2187/bss.23.211.

    Omori K, Wada S, Maruyama Y, Hattori A, Kitamura K, Satoh Y, Nara M, Funahashi H, Yachiguchi K, Hayakawa K, Endo M, Kusakari R, Yano S, Srivastav AK, Kusui T, Ejiri S, Chen W, Tabuchi Y, Furusawa Y, Kondo T, Sasayama Y, Nishiuchi T, Nakano M, Sakamoto T, Suzuki N.  Prostaglandin E2  increases both osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity in the scales and participates in calcium metabolism in goldfish. Zoological Science. 2012 August; 29(8): 499-504. DOI: 10.2108/zsj.29.499. PMID: 22873807.

    Suzuki N, Somei M, Seki A, Reiter RJ, Hattori A.  Novel bromomelatonin derivatives as potentially effective drugs to treat bone diseases. Journal of Pineal Research. 2008 October; 45(3): 229-234. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2008.00623.x.

    Suzuki N, Danks JA, Maruyama Y, Ikegame M, Sasayama Y, Hattori A, Nakamura M, Tabata MJ, Yamamoto T, Furuya R, Saijoh K, Mishima H, Srivastav AK, Furusawa Y, Kondo T, Tabuchi Y, Takasaki I, Chowdhury VS, Hayakawa K, Martin TJ.  Parathyroid hormone 1 (1–34) acts on the scales and involves calcium metabolism in goldfish. Bone. 2011 May; 48(5): 1186-1193. DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2011.02.004.

    Suzuki N, Somei M, Kitamura K, Reiter RJ, Hattori A.  Novel bromomelatonin derivatives suppress osteoclastic activity and increase osteoblastic activity: implications for the treatment of bone diseases. Journal of Pineal Research. 2008 April; 44(3): 326-334. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2007.00533.x.

    Suzuki N, Omori K, Nakamura M, Tabata MJ, Ikegame M, Ijiri K, Kitamura K, Nemoto T, Shimizu N, Kondo T, Matsuda K, Ando H, Kasahara H, Nagase M, Nara M, Hattori A.  Scale osteoblasts and osteoclasts sensitively respond to low-gravity loading by centrifuge. Biological Sciences in Space. 2008; 22(1): 3-7. DOI: 10.2187/bss.22.3.

    Kakikawa M, Yamamoto T, Chowdhury VS, Satoh Y, Kitamura K, Sekiguchi T, Funahashi H, Omori K, Endo M, Yano S, Yamada S, Hayakawa K, Chiba A, Srivastav AK, Ijiri K, Seki A, Hattori A, Suzuki N.  Determination of Calcium Sensing Receptor in the Scales of Goldfish and Induction of Its mRNA Expression by Acceleration Loading. Biological Sciences in Space. 2012; 26: 26-31. DOI: 10.2187/bss.26.26.

    Kitamura K, Suzuki N, Satoh Y, Nemoto T, Ikegame M, Shimizu N, Kondo T, Furusawa Y, Wada S, Hattori A.  Osteoblast activity in the goldfish scale responds sensitively to mechanical stress. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology. 2010 July; 156(3): 357-363. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2010.03.002. PMID: 20223292.

    Yano S, Masuda D, Kasahara H, Omori K, Higashibata A, Asashima M, Ohnishi T, Yatagai F, Kamisaka S, Furusawa T, Higashitani A, Majima HJ, Nikawa T, Wakabayashi K, Takahashi H, Suzuki H, Shimazu T, Fukui K, Hattori A, Tanigaki F, Shirakawa M, Nakamura T, Yoshimura Y, Suzuki N, Ishioka N.  Excellent Thermal Control Ability of Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) for Ground-Based Experiments and Experiments Onboard the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module of International Space Station. Biological Sciences in Space. 2012; 26: 12-20. DOI: 10.2187/bss.26.12.

    Kitamura K, Chen W, Zhu X, Suzuki N, Yano S, Nemoto T.  Acceleration-based study of optimum exercise for human weight-bearing bones enhancement. Biological Sciences in Space. 2010; 24(2): 83-90. DOI: 10.2187/bss.24.83.

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