Examination of the effects of microgravity on the trophic capability of stromal vascular fraction cells from lipoaspirated human adipose tissue (STL-TATRC2) - 09.17.14
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Space Tissue Loss is a DoD Space Test Program payload flying both DoD and NASA science that uses cell and tissue cultures in microgravity to study the effects of tissue regeneration and wound healing in space.
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Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, Ft. Detrick, MD, United States
United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2011 - September 2011
Previous ISS Missions
- Tissue repair and healing involve a delicate balance of timing and repair signaling including growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines by the surrounding cells. Adipose tissue is known to contain therapeutically relevant populations of cells, including microvascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, pericytes, fibroblasts, and mesenchymal stem cells. These adipose-derived cells have been previously reported to produce a number of important growth factors and signals that direct the wound healing response.
- Wound healing is of critical importance to the astronauts’ well-being against numerous debilitating ailments and injuries incited by the microgravity environment of space. Potentially negative changes in the astronaut’s regenerative cells may be a major cause of tissue degeneration and attenuated wound healing response during space flight. The objective of this study is to examine the physiologic behavior of adipose-derived regenerative cells under microgravity by quantifying secreted growth factors and chemokines produced while grown in culture.
- Cellular aggregates (colonies) of regenerative cells will be evaluated for improved secretion of growth factors and chemokines, mimicking a true three-dimensional environment of cells within the bioreactor. These aggregates can be potentially developed and utilized as a novel therapeutic modality against spaceflight-induced degeneration of tissue. Additionally, this research will contribute to the DoD on-earth effort to exploit the potential of regenerative cells to repair and restore injured tissue.
The Cell Culture Module (CCM) hardware used in STL 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. STL is made up of three experiments that will be conducted inside the CCM. 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.
- The units are self-contained; operation and data logging is automated.
- The tissues are cultured in hollow fiber bioreactors to allow facile sampling of metabolites and waste products and easy application of candidate pharmaceuticals.
- The experiment's cultured cells are maintained in an optimum growth and maintenance environment, including feedback control of temperature, oxygen concentration, pH, nutrient delivery, flow rate, pulsatile diffusion, and shear.
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 difficulties 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.
Cellular microgravity experiments are used to research methods of treating Earth-bound injuries where cellular degeneration and decreased immune response can occur in traumatic wounds and unused limbs. The application spans across both military and civilian injuries and immune response on Earth.
Four rails with individual flow paths and biocreactors will be housed inside the CCM hardware. Two rails will be used for the NASA investigator and two rails will be shared between the DoD investigators. The configuration will allow for redundancy in experiments, increasing the probability of successful tests and samples returning to earth for analysis.
The STL investigation is self contained and requires crew interaction for activation, status checks, and re-entry. Rails will contain cell lines treated with different agents. Following the return to Earth, the rails will be returned to the investigator for in-depth analysis.
NASA Image: S118E10350 - Seen in this image is the hardware that houses the Cell Culture Module - Immune Response of Human Monocytes in Microgravity (CCM-Immune Response) and the Cell Culture Module - Effect of Microgravity on Wound Repair: In Vitro Model of New Blood Vessel Development (CCM-Wound Repair) experiments. The experiments were flown on STS118/13A.1 in August 2007.
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