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JournalISSN: 2332-7774

Gravitational and Space Research 

De Gruyter
About: Gravitational and Space Research is an academic journal published by De Gruyter. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Spaceflight & Gravitropism. It has an ISSN identifier of 2332-7774. It is also open access. Over the lifetime, 341 publications have been published receiving 4007 citations. The journal is also known as: Gravitational & space research & GSR.


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Journal Article
TL;DR: All underlying biophysical principles thought to give rise to gravity-dependent physiological responses must be identified and thoroughly examined in order to accurately interpret data from flight experiments or ground-based microgravity analogs.
Abstract: The environment created on Earth within a clinostat or Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) bioreactor is often referred to as “simulated microgravity”. Both devices utilize constant reorientation to effectively nullify cumulative sedimentation of particles. Neither, however, can fully reproduce the concurrent lack of structural deformation, displacement of intercellular components and/or reduced mass transfer in the extracellular fluid that occur in actual weightlessness. Parameters including density, viscosity, and even container geometry must each be considered to determine the overall gravity-dependent effects produced by either a clinostat or the RWV bioreactor; in addition, the intended application of these two devices differs considerably. A state of particle “motionlessness” relative to the surrounding bulk fluid, which is nearly analogous to the extracellular environment encountered under weightless conditions, can theoretically be achieved through clinorotation. The RWV bioreactor, on the other hand, while similarly maintaining cells in suspension as they continually “fall” through the medium under 1 g conditions, can also purposefully induce a perfusion of nutrients to and waste from the culture. A clinostat, therefore, is typically used in an attempt to reproduce the quiescent, unstirred fluid conditions achievable on orbit; while the RWV bioreactor ideally creates a low shear, but necessarily mixed, fluid environment that is optimized for suspension culture and tissue growth. Other techniques for exploring altered inertial environments, such as free-fall, neutral buoyancy and electromagnetic levitation, can also provide unique insight into how gravity affects biological systems. Ultimately, all underlying biophysical principles thought to give rise to gravity-dependent physiological responses must be identified and thoroughly examined in order to accurately interpret data from flight experiments or ground-based microgravity analogs.

163 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Among the factors to be considered are dose-response relationships, bone quality, post-use recovery, and combination therapies--all of which may have unique characteristics when the drugs are used in space.
Abstract: Bone loss in the lower extremities and lumbar spine is an established consequence of long-duration human space flight. Astronauts typically lose as much bone mass in the proximal femur in 1 month as postmenopausal women on Earth lose in 1 year. Pharmacological interventions have not been routinely used in space, and countermeasure programs have depended solely upon exercise. However, it is clear that the osteogenic stimulus from exercise has been inadequate to maintain bone mass, due to insufficient load or duration. Attention has therefore been focused on several pharmacological interventions that have been successful in preventing or attenuating osteoporosis on Earth. Anti-resorptives are the class of drugs most commonly used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, notably alendronate sodium, risedronate sodium, zoledronic acid, and selective estrogen receptor modulators, such as raloxifene. There has also been considerable recent interest in anabolic agents such as parathyroid hormone (PTH) and teriparatide (rhPTH [1-34]). Vitamin D and calcium supplementation have also been used. Recent studies of kindreds with abnormally high bone mineral density have provided insight into the genetic regulation of bone mass. This has led to potential therapeutic interventions based on the LRP5, Wnt and BMP2 pathways. Another target is the RANK-L/osteoprotegerin signaling pathway, which influences bone turnover by regulating osteoclast formation and maturation. Trials using such therapies in space are being planned. Among the factors to be considered are dose-response relationships, bone quality, post-use recovery, and combination therapies--all of which may have unique characteristics when the drugs are used in space.

138 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that skeletal unloading provides a perturbation in bone mineral homeostasis that can be used to understand the mechanisms by which bone mineralHomeostasis is maintained, and that such understanding will lead to effective treatment for disuse osteoporosis in addition to preventive measures for the bone loss that accompanies space travel.
Abstract: Skeletal unloading leads to decreased bone formation and decreased bone mass. Bone resorption is uncoupled from bone formation, contributing to the bone loss. During space flight bone is lost principally from the bones most loaded in the 1 g environment. Determining the mechanism(s) by which loading of bone is sensed and translated into a signal(s) controlling bone formation remains the holy grail in this field. It seems likely that matrix/cell interactions will underlie much of the mechanocoupling. Integrins are a prime mediator of such interactions. The role for systemic hormones such as PTH, GH and 1,25(OH)2D compared to locally produced factors such as IGF-I, PTHrP, BMPs and TGF beta in modulating the cellular response to load remains unclear. Our studies demonstrate that skeletal unloading leads to resistance to the anabolic actions of IGF-I on bone as a result of failure of IGF-I to activate its own signaling pathways. This is associated with a reduction in integrin expression, suggesting crosstalk between these two pathways. As the mechanism(s) by which bone responds to changes in mechanical load with changes in bone formation is further elucidated, applications of this knowledge to other etiologies of osteoporosis are likely to develop. Skeletal unloading provides a perturbation in bone mineral homeostasis that can be used to understand the mechanisms by which bone mineral homeostasis is maintained, and that such understanding will lead to effective treatment for disuse osteoporosis in addition to preventive measures for the bone loss that accompanies space travel.

135 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Research is essential to understand the effects of space flight on biological functions and population dynamics of microorganisms in spacecraft, and a better understanding of the immune response and of human-microorganism-environment interactions during long-term space habitation is important.
Abstract: Spacecraft and space habitats supporting human exploration contain a diverse population of microorganisms. Microorganisms may threaten human habitation in many ways that directly or indirectly impact the health, safety, or performance of astronauts. The ability to produce and maintain spacecraft and space stations with environments suitable for human habitation has been established over 40 years of human space flight. An extensive database of environmental microbiological parameters has been provided for short-term (< 20 days) space flight by more than 100 missions aboard the Space Shuttle. The NASA Mir Program provided similar data for long-duration missions. Interestingly, the major bacterial and fungal species found in the Space Shuttle are similar to those encountered in the nearly 15-year-old Mir. Lessons learned from both the US and Russian space programs have been incorporated into the habitability plan for the International Space Station. The focus is on preventive measures developed for spacecraft, cargo, and crews. On-orbit regular housekeeping practices complete with visual inspections are essential, along with microbiological monitoring. Risks associated with extended stays on the Moon or a Mars exploration mission will be much greater than previous experiences because of additional unknown variables. The current knowledge base is insufficient for exploration missions, and research is essential to understand the effects of space flight on biological functions and population dynamics of microorganisms in spacecraft. Equally important is a better understanding of the immune response and of human-microorganism-environment interactions during long-term space habitation.

111 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: The model presented is based on the concept that cells use tensegrity architecture to organize their cytoskeleton and stabilize their form and recent experimental results are described which provide direct support for the tensiongrity theory.
Abstract: Physical forces, such as those due to gravity, play an important role in tissue development and remodeling. Yet, little is known about how individual cells sense mechanical signals or how they transduce them into a chemical response. Rather than listing the numerous signal pathways that have been found to be sensitive to mechanical stimulation, we need to place potential molecular signaling mechanisms within the context of the entire cell. The model presented is based on the concept that cells use tensegrity architecture to organize their cytoskeleton and stabilize their form. Studies with stick and string tensegrity cell models predict that living cells are hard-wired to respond immediately to external mechanical stresses. This hard-wiring exists in the form of discrete cytoskeletal filament networks that mechanically couple specific cell surface receptors, such as integrins, to nuclear matrix scaffolds and to potential transducing molecules that physically associate with the cytoskeleton. If these signaling molecules do function in a "solid-state", then mechanical stresses may be transduced into biochemical responses through force-dependent changes in cytoskeletal geometry or through local alterations in thermodynamic or kinetic parameters. Changes in cytoskeletal tension (prestress) also may play a role in signal amplification and adaptation. Recent experimental results are described which provide direct support for the tensegrity theory.

105 citations

Performance
Metrics
No. of papers from the Journal in previous years
YearPapers
20225
20219
20204
20196
201811
201716