Stem Cell Differentiation (Stem Cell Differentiation) - 02.01.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Stem Cells play a major role in the maintenance of bone mass, being the main source of osteoblasts during the bone remodeling and repair. The recruitment of an adequate number of osteoblasts is dependent on the availability of human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) and their proper response to growth, differentiation, and chemotactic signals in the microenvironment. The Stem Cell Differentiation investigation aims to understand how human mesenchymal stem cells react to a prolonged (approximately 2 weeks) exposure to microgravity in terms of growth, senescence, and differentiation towards osteoblasts when treated with 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 (vit D3).
Science Results for Everyone
Talk about a skeleton crew! Astronauts experience bone loss because microgravity disrupts functioning of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and other bone-building cells. To focus on the role of BMSCs, this investigation ground-tested culture conditions, fixation and storage in order to optimize spaceflight experimental procedures and analytical techniques in future experiments. Results from these tests contribute to understanding how human BMSCs respond to microgravity, and the molecular mechanisms governing the growth and differentiation of these cells. This could lead to new insights to prevent astronaut bone loss, counteract age-related bone diseases and improve tissue bioengineering.

The following content was provided by Silvia Bradamante, Jeanette Maier, Ph.D., Jenneke Klein-Nulend, Jack J.W.A. van Loon, E. Biagi, M. Muller, P. Aleström, Millie Hughes-Fulford, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Stem Cell Differentiation

Principal Investigator(s)
Silvia Bradamante, c/o University of Milano-Bicocca, I-20126 Milano, Italy
Jeanette Maier, Ph.D., University of Milan, Milano, Italy
Jenneke Klein-Nulend, ACTA-Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jack J.W.A. van Loon, ACTA-Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
E. Biagi, Italy
M. Muller, Belgium
P. Aleström, Norway
Millie Hughes-Fulford, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned
43/44

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview
There is increasing evidence that most of the diseases related to aging are associated with a progressive decline in the number and/or function of stem cells (SCs). One of the most critical diseases suffered by astronauts is bone loss. During the past decade, researchers considered and investigated failures in osteoblast and osteoclast activity as responsible for bone mass loss in microgravity. Now the focus is on SCs, which play a major role in the maintenance of bone mass, being the main source of osteoblasts during bone remodeling and repair. The recruitment of an adequate number of osteoblasts is dependent on the availability of human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) and their proper response to growth, differentiation, and chemotactic signals in the microenvironment.

Description
Information Pending

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Applications

Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
Information Pending

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Crew activities consist of KUBIK + PPS installation, installation / de-installation of experiment containers in KUBIK(s). Data transfer from KUBIK after experiment. Photos of the hardware on the ISS are ‘nice-to-have’.
 
See protocol description on 1st page (automated). Cold stowage for RNAlater fixed samples: preferred scenario: maximum 30 days at minimum +0.5°C, preferred +6°C, maximum +8°C, also provided by KUBIK. Cold stowage for NOTOXhisto fixed samples: maximum 30 days at minimum +4°C, preferred +6°C, maximum +8°C, also provided by KUBIK. Download scenario: either maximum 24 hours at minimum +18°C, preferred +20°C, maximum +30°C or maximum 7 days at minimum +2°C, preferred +4°C, maximum +10°C.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Long-term exposure to microgravity (μg) causes a number of serious health problems such as motion sickness, weakening of heart and blood vessels, loss of muscle, and bone in astronauts. Future extended space travel from months to years to distant destinations requires space medicine to face new challenges. Weightlessness disrupt the normal process of bone remodeling (the human skeleton is completely replaced about every 10 years or so) that involves bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), as well as osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts. More focus is now given to the role of BMSCs in space-induced bone loss. For this reason, the SCD – STEM CELLS DIFFERENTIATION experiment, selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) and now on the International Space Station (ISS), underwent careful ground preparatory studies. With preliminary tests of culture conditions, fixation and storage of human BMSCs in space to insure suitable samples for post-flight analyses, and the positive outcome of the optimization of the spaceflight experimental procedures and analytical techniques, researchers are confident that the aims of the experiment can be achieved. The SCD - Stem Cell Differentiation experiment addresses an important question: how human MSCs respond to the real microgravity environment. Scientists expect to understand better the molecular mechanisms governing human BMSC growth and differentiation hoping to outline new countermeasures against astronaut bone loss. Potential benefits of the STEM CELL DIFFERENTIATION experiment concern both the fields of age-related bone pathologies and tissue engineering.

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Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

    Versari S, Barenghi L, van Loon JJ, Bradamante S.  The SCD – Stem Cell Differentiation ESA Project: Preparatory work for the spaceflight mission. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2015 November 12; epub: 10 pp. DOI: 10.1007/s12217-015-9466-5.

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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Imagery

image NASA Image: ISS043E069114 - View of ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti taken during retrieval of the installation of the Stem Cell Differentiation (SCD) experiment.
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image NASA Image: ISS043E069113 - Photographic documentation taken during retrieval of the installation of the Stem Cell Differentiation (SCD) experiment in the KUBIK incubator.
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