Effects of the Space Environment on the Blood and Lymphatic Vessels of the Head and Neck, the Knee and Hip Joints, and the Eyes (Rodent Research-9 (RR-9)) - 10.11.17

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Effects of the Space Environment on the Blood and Lymphatic Vessels of the Head and Neck, the Knee and Hip Joints, and the Eyes (Rodent Research-9 (RR-9)) studies how microgravity affects the blood and lymphatic vessels, muscles and bones, and the impact of fluid pressures in the eyes and head of rodents during extended stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Rodent Research-9 (RR-9) consists of the transport and maintenance of a group of mice using NASA’s Rodent Research hardware. After approximately 30 days aboard the ISS, the mice return to Earth where scientists on the ground study how their time in space affected the eye and cerebral circulations, as well as overall joint health and walking (gait) patterns.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Janet E. Beegle, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Rodent Research-9

Principal Investigator(s)
Michael D. Delp, Ph.D., Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States
Jeffrey Willey, Ph.D., Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, United States
Xiao Wen Mao, Ph.D., Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, United States

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

Developer(s)
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA Research Office - Space Life and Physical Sciences (NASA Research-SLPS)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - February 2018

Expeditions Assigned
51/52,53/54

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Effects of the Space Environment on the Blood and Lymphatic Vessels of the Head and Neck, the Knee and Hip Joints, and the Eyes (Rodent Research-9 (RR-9)) aims to better understand and assess the effect of microgravity on rodents which may provide insight into human health on future long duration missions.
  • Rodent Research-9 (RR-9) studies the effect of the space environment on the blood and lymphatic vessels in the head and neck, the knee and hip joints, and the eyes.
  • Rodent Research-9 (RR-9) performs scientific operations to determine spaceflight effects on 3 primary areas: (1) the arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels in the head and neck, (2) arthritic changes in the knee and hip joint (including damage to cartilage, menisci, ligaments, and bone) that cause and/or are reflective of impaired walking (gait) patterns, as well as (3) spaceflight effects on ocular structure and retinal vascular function.
  • Rodent Research-9 (RR-9) assess the mechanisms involved in the previously reported adverse effects of spaceflight on the visual acuity and impaired musculoskeletal health of astronauts using the mouse model flown in the Rodent Research hardware.

Description

The Effects of the Space Environment on the Blood and Lymphatic Vessels of the Head and Neck, the Knee and Hip Joints, and the Eyes (Rodent Research-9 (RR-9)) investigation determines the effects of spaceflight on the functional, mechanical and structural properties of arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels in the head and neck, and how spaceflight-induced changes in these properties impact the regulation of fluid pressures in the eyes and head. The cellular mechanisms of spaceflight-induced neurovascular response and modulation of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) function in the eye are also investigated. Additionally, this study measures the extent to which spaceflight can cause arthritic changes in the knee and hip joint, and how this damage and overall neuromuscular effects cause changes in normal walking patterns post-flight. Results from these studies provide important information regarding the visual impairment and musculoskeletal deficits that has been reported in astronauts during and following long-duration spaceflight aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
 
There are three major objectives in Rodent Research-9 (RR-9). The first objective is to determine the effects of long-duration spaceflight on cerebral arterial and venous tone, constrictor responsiveness, mechanical stiffness and gross structure, as well as capillary endothelial cell structure and lymphatic contractile activity. The second objective is to evaluate the retinal microvascular and tissue remodeling that impact visual function and identify factors and cellular mechanisms that trigger space environment-induced alteration of cell-cell interaction in the function of the blood-retinal barrier. The third objective is to determine the extent of knee and hip joint degradation after long-duration spaceflight.

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Applications

Space Applications
Due to genetic and physiologic similarities between mice and humans, this research provides insight into how human tissue and systems change under the unique environment of space. The research contributes to disease treatment and prevention by highlighting fundamental pathways of cellular degradation that may occur in human circulatory, and musculoskeletal systems.

Earth Applications
This research uses mammalian proxies to identify key health risks that humans face during long-term space travel by providing invaluable information on the effect of various stressors (e.g. launching, radiation and microgravity) associated with spaceflight. This evidence can be used in developing drugs and other regimens to mitigate adverse health effects of long-term space travel.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
During the mission, the Transporter and Habitat hardware are used; the Transporter houses animals during the transit to ISS and the Habitat houses rodents on ISS for long duration missions. The Life Support System provided by the Dragon capsule provides environmental conditions during transport. The Access Unit interfaces with either the Transporter or Habitat to allow handling a transfer of animals. For this flight, 20 mice are flown to meet science objectives. Animals are transferred from the Transporter to the Habitats that provide long-duration housing abroad the ISS. At approximately 30 days in microgravity, animals are transferred to a clean unit of the Transporter and returned to Earth via Dragon capsule. Daily video downlink is necessary to check the health and well-being of animals while housed in the Habitats.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery