National Lab Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells) comprises two experiments conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One experiment will assesses the effects of space flight on cellular replication and differentiation in cattle cells. The other experiment examines the effects of space flight on the normal differentiation and function of liver cells and bile duct (opens into the small intestine from the liver) epithelium (lining).Principal Investigator(s)
United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD, United States
University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
Zero Gravity Incorporated, Stevensville, MD, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory - U.S. Department of Agriculture (NL-USDA)ISS Expedition Duration
October 2008 - April 2009
18Previous ISS Missions
The NLP-Cells investigation has not been performed in microgravity previously.
National Lab Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells) consists of two experiments conducted by Zero Gravity Incorporated in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first experiment will assesses the effects of space flight on cattle (bovine) zygotes (resulting from the union of a sperm and egg). .The gene expression of the bovine zygotes is assayed following short-duration (less than 20-days) space flight. Morphological observations and cell culture methodologies are used postflight to test for the continuous culture of any bovine cells that form and grow as a result of exposure to space flight.
The second experiment examines the effects of the space flight on the normal differentiation and function of hepatocytes (liver cells) and bile duct epithelium, the two main parenchymal cell types of the liver. Cell cultures of the ARS-PICM-19 (swine liver cells) are assayed for normal growth and differentiation following a short-duration space flight.
This investigation is a part of a series of investigations to be conducted on board the ISS to provide the foundation for use of the ISS as a National Laboratory following assembly complete.Earth Applications
The long-term goal of this project is to enhance the ability to introduce new genetic information into cells and to examine the effects of space flight on the normal differentiation and function of hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium.
NLP-Cells are monitored through the BioServe Payload Operations and Control Center at the University of Colorado - Boulder. The space flight samples are returned to Earth for analysis.Operational Protocols
This research flies within a Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA) and Group Activation Pack (GAP) hardware. Each experiment utilizes four of BioServe's GAPs each of which holds 8 FPAs. The GAPs will be located inside the CGBA which maintains the samples at 37 degrees C for the duration of the experiment. A time course study will be conducted where different samples are grown for varying time frames. All samples will be fixed while in orbit and brought back to Earth for analysis.