Space Tissue Loss - Stem Cell Regeneration (STL-Regeneration) - 02.25.15

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

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Space Tissue Loss - Stem Cell Regeneration (STL-Regeneration) is a Department of Defense Space Test Program payload studying stem cell regeneration in mouse cell culture in microgravity examining the effects of tissue regeneration in space. Cell culture in microgravity serves as a model system for understanding necrosis of tissue following severe injuries on Earth.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Eduardo A. C Almeida, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Eduardo A. C Almeida, Ph.D., Moffett Field, CA, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Ruth K. Globus, Ph.D., Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

  • Developer(s)
    Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2010 - September 2010

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    The STL experiment model has not previously flown in the CCM, although the hardware has flown on several previous Space Shuttle mission.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The Space Tissue Loss - Stem Cell Regeneration (STL-Regeneration) investigation examines the effects of space flight on the biology of mouse stem cell differentiation.

    • The STL-Regeneration experiment determines the space flight affects on the cellular biology of differentiation,gene expression patterns, and modifications to DNA sequences that regulate genes that control cell differentiation.

    The Space Tissue Loss - Stem Cell Regeneration (STL-Regeneration) studies how cells develop into specialized tissue types, or "differentiate" in space. The experiment will use mouse embryoid bodies, which are ball-shaped collections of mouse embryonic stem cells, to study the effects of microgravity on the cells' ability to differentiate.

    On Earth, the mouse embryoid body is considered a model to study how the cells and tissue of a whole organism differentiate and develop. Because mouse embryonic stem cells can differentiate into any type of adult tissue found in the body, scientists are using them to investigate the ways cells grow and regenerate to better understand the cellular, biochemical, and genetic processes of healing wounds and tissue development in space.

    STL-Regeneration plans to identify common conserved cellular and molecular space flight response mechanisms in cells relevant to normal cellular function and disease progression by profiling expression levels of Sm proteins and changes in cellular differentiation, immune function, and stress response before and after pathogenic bacteria infection of tissue culture cells.

    The Cell Culture Module (CCM) hardware used in STL investigation is designed specifically to study the effects of microgravity on cell culture. For this experiment, off-the-shelf hollow fiber bioreactors are used as basic cell support structures. The CCM allows controlled physiologic maintenance, manipulation, and testing of the cells. The CCM is a completely automated, temperature controlled system designed to help scientists study the effects of microgravity on cells in space. The study includes cultured tissue test materials in continuous flow modules.

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    Space Applications
    Exposure to microgravity causes cells to react in a destructive cascade similar to wounds. This breakdown of tissue and function presents serious challenges to the health of humans in space. Astronauts traveling to the moon or Mars in microgravity may experience injury or, initiating the wound healing process. Astronauts exposed to pathogens in space may also experience reduced immune function and susceptibility to infection. The experiment results could help determine new and improved wound healing treatment for astronauts as well as provide further insight into bacteria/host interactions in space.

    Earth Applications
    Cellular and bacterial microgravity experiments are used to research methods of treating Earth-bound injuries and infection where cellular degeneration and decreased immune response can occur in traumatic wounds and unused limbs. The application spans both military and civilian injuries and immune response on Earth.

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    Operational Requirements
    Four rails with individual flow paths and biocreactors will be housed inside the CCM hardware. Two rails will be used for each investigator. The configuration will allow for redundancy in experiments, increasing the probability of successful tests and samples returning to Earth for analysis.

    Operational Protocols
    The STL investigations are self contained and require crew interaction for activation, status checks, and reentry. Rails will contain cell lines treated with different agents. Following return to Earth, the rails will be returned to the respective investigator for in-depth analysis.

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      Landis WJ, Hodgens KJ, Block D, Toma CD, Gerstenfeld LC.  Spaceflight Effects on cultured embryonic chick bone cells. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2000; 15(6): 99-112. PMID: 10841178.

      Reece JS, Miller MJ, Arnold MA, Waterhouse C, Delaplaine T, Cohn L, Cannon TF.  Continuous Oxygen Monitoring of Mammalian Cell Growth on Space Shuttle Mission STS-93 with a Novel Radioluminescent Oxygen. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2003; 104(1): 1-11.

      Ikenaga M, Hirayama J, Kato T, Kitao H, Han Z, Ishizaki K, Nishizawa K, Suzuki F, Cannon TF, Fukui K, Shimazu T, Kamigaichi S, Ishioka N, Matsumiya H.  Effect of Space Flight on the Frequency of Micronuclei and Expression of Stress-Responsive Proteins in Cultured Mammalian Cells. Journal of Radiation Research. 2002; 43: S141-S147. DOI: 10.1269/jrr.43.S141. PMID: 12793748.

      Harris SA, Zhang M, Kidder L, Evans GL, Spelsberg TC, Turner RT.  Effects of Orbital Spaceflight on Human Osteoblastic Cell Physiology and Gene Expression. Bone. 2000; 26(4): 325-331. PMID: 10719274.

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    Related Websites

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