Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly) - 11.22.16
Spaceflight causes a rapid loss of bone and muscle mass especially in the legs and spine, with symptoms similar to those experienced by people with muscle wasting diseases or with limited mobility on Earth. Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly), sponsored by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, studies molecular and physical changes in the musculoskeletal system that happen in space. Results expand scientists’ understanding of muscle atrophy and bone loss in space, while testing an antibody that has been known to prevent muscle wasting in mice on Earth. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: Rodent Research-3
Rosamund Smith, Ph.D., Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, United States
Marty Cramer, M.S., Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, United States
BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory (NL)
Scientific Discovery, Earth Benefits
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2016
- The spaceflight environment is known to cause muscle loss, similar to disuse and muscle wasting diseases on Earth.
- Assessment of myostatin inhibition to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight (Rodent Research-3-Eli Lilly) further expands understanding of muscle atrophy and bone loss in space and provides data that complements similar past studies.
- In addition to the primary research focus on musculoskeletal systems, other organ systems are also studied for molecular and morphological changes as a function of duration of spaceflight exposure, further supporting the use of mice to model deleterious effects of spaceflight in astronauts, potential diseases that affect people on Earth and aging, more broadly.
Crew members experience major changes in their bone density and muscle mass after only a few days in orbit. These effects are most obvious in the body parts that bear weight on the ground, especially the legs, hips and spine. Exercise is so far the only way to counteract these effects, but is still insufficient. This investigation uses mice as a model for human health to study whether certain drugs might prevent muscle or bone loss while in microgravity. Ultimately, drugs could progress to human trials and may be used on future space missions to maintain crew members’ physical health during long-duration missions.
Numerous diseases or physical impairments cause bone and muscle loss, including muscular dystrophy, cancer, spinal cord injury and the aging process. Patients on extended bed rest also experience similar physical changes. Results from this investigation could lead to new treatments for bone- and muscle-wasting diseases on Earth.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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