Nanoparticles-based countermeasures for Treatment of Microgravity-induced Osteoporosis (Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis) - 03.08.17

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Crew members’ bone density decreases during spaceflight, in part because of microgravity-related metabolic changes that cause the body to lose calcium. Nanoparticle-based Countermeasures for Treatment of Microgravity-Induced Osteoporosis (Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis) studies a type of nanoparticle made of minerals similar to those found in bones and teeth, which could help counteract bone density loss. Results improve efforts to develop bone loss countermeasures that could benefit future space missions as well as patients on Earth.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Livia Visai, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis

Principal Investigator(s)
Livia Visai, Ph.D., University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Angela Maria Rizzo, Ph.D., University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Marco Vukich, Kayser Italia Srl., Livorno, Italy
Gaetano Campi, Ph.D., Institute of Crystallography, Rome, Italy
Giuseppina Rea, National Council of Research Monterotondo Scalo, Rome, Italy

Developer(s)
University of Pavia - Department of Molecular Medicine, Italy
University of Milano - Department of Pharmacological and Bimolecular Science (DiSFEB), Italy
Institute of Crystallography CNR, National Research Council, Rome, Italy
Kayser Italia Srl., Livorno, Italy

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Italian Space Agency (ASI)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned
43/44

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Osteoporosis is a multifactorial skeletal disorder that can be related to various risk factors. Physical disability, advancing age, and/or exposure to microgravity increase the risk of suffering from osteoporosis, and such disuse osteoporosis is associated with huge economic and health burden. On the other hand, it is an obstacle for space technology advancement. Understanding the pathology and the underlying mechanisms of disuse osteoporosis is important for the development of new strategies on pharmaceutical or treatment protocols for preventing or reducing disuse osteoporosis. The Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis investigation provides information to help researchers better understand and develop countermeasures to prevent this skeletal disorder.
  • Over the past few years, several countermeasures were examined to prevent bone loss during exposure to microgravity, including pharmacological therapy with calcitonin and bisphosphonates, and several active and passive exercise regimes. However, positive outcomes have been rather limited. Recent studies showed that Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles [nHAp; Ca10(PO4)6-(OH)2] with Calcium ions (Ca2+) which were substituted with strontium (Sr) (nHAp-Sr), positively improved bone adhesion and proliferation, but negatively influenced osteoclast proliferation. Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (nHAp) are chemically similar to the mineral component of bones and hard tissues in mammals. nHAp and nHAp-Sr are synthesized using sol-gel technique, and then their biological effects on hBM-MSCs and human osteoclasts evaluated on earth (ground control) and in simulated microgravity. During space flight in comparison to ground control and simulated gravity, an analysis of the global gene expression profile is to be carried out. The bio-demineralization process is also evaluated by high-resolution micro-diffraction studies on samples performed on earth and in simulated microgravity, but not in space.
  • The impact of the research may have effects on different levels like as:
    1. Reduction of osteoporosis due to microgravity exposure
    2. Improvement of space technology
    3. Advancement in the knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of disuse osteoporosis
    4. Development of new strategy on pharmaceutical protocols
    5. Reduction of social costs.

Description
Information Pending

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Applications

Space Applications
Orbiting crew members suffer from reduced bone density, which results in part from growth of osteoclast cells, which are bone-absorbing cells. Efforts to reduce this loss include exercise and drug therapy, but success has been limited so far. Previous research on hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (nHAp), which are made from a compound chemically similar to the minerals in bones and teeth, showed promise for bone growth, but they also increased the growth of osteoclasts. This investigation studies HAp nanoparticles enriched with strontium (nHAp-Sr) to determine their effects on human bone-forming cells (hBM-MSCs) in space flight and on human osteoclasts in simulated microgravity in comparison to untreated or treated cells with nHAps.

Earth Applications
Many people on Earth suffer from osteoporosis and other bone density disorders, which can result from aging or illness. Osteoporosis causes weak and brittle bones that can easily break. This investigation studies a potential treatment that can prevent bone density loss, potentially helping millions of people worldwide.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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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

    Rea G, Cristofaro F, Pani G, Pascucci B, Ghuge SA, Corsetto PA, Imbriani M, Visai L, Rizzo AM.  Microgravity-driven remodeling of the proteome reveals insights into molecular mechanisms and signal networks involved in response to the space flight environment. Journal of Proteomics. 2016 March 30; 137: 3-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.jprot.2015.11.005.

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Related Websites

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Imagery

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The Experiment Unit (EU). Image courtesy of the  Italian Space Agency (ASI).

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Kubik Interface Container (KIC) outside of Kubik. The KIC offers a dedicated environment for the execution of life science experiments in microgravity and provides a Level of Containment. Image courtesy of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

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Kubik Interface Container (KIC) inside of Kubik. The KIC offers a dedicated environment for the execution of life science experiments in microgravity and provides a Level of Containment. Image courtesy of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

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BIOKIT: passive thermal conditioning systems based on phase change materials, which allows to maintain the biological samples at controlled temperature in the range required by the experiment without the need for power supply. Image courtesy of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

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