A new Henry Ford Hospital survey on mice aboard a Russian spaceflight can raise an exciting question for tomorrow's astronauts: Could space travel be bad for your joints?
Researchers found early signs of breakage in the mice, suggesting that the reduced biomechanical forces in spaceflight are at stake on the musculoskeletal system.
Although it is too early to translate the foundation into humans, this first-class study adds to a growing study of the health effects of spaceflight on the musculoskeletal system. Research has shown that living and working in space leads to many changes in the human body, including the immune system, the blood pressure and the shape of a person's eyes.
The study is published online in npg Microgravity part of the Nature Partner Journal publishing group.
Jamie Fitzgerald, PhD, head of musculoskeletal genetics at Henry Ford's Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the study's lead author, says signs of articular cartilage degradation in the mice were "cut." caused by the almost lack of gravity in the room, "he says. "If this were to happen to people, given enough time, it would cause great common problems."
Scientists suggest that because the biomechanical forces in space are different from those on Earth, changes occur in the musculoskeletal system. [1
"This comes from daily activities such as walking and lifting, and gravity pulling down on the musculoskeletal system. When this load is removed due to weightlessness and almost gravity in space, these tissues begin to break down. The most dramatic example is atrophy of Muscle and demineralization of bones occurring during spaceflight.
"This muscle and bone loss returns when astronauts return to Earth. What is interesting about cartilage is that it is a tissue that repairs very badly. This raises the important question of whether cartilage also breaks down in space. "
For the study, funded by a 100,000,000 NASA scholarship, Dr. Fitzgerald and his research team those molecular changes in cartilage in mice that spent 30 days in animal research cabinets aboard an unmanned Russian Bion-M1 spacecraft in 2013. This included performing tissue spots and gene expression test on cartilage. The results were compared with mice observed on the soil during the same period.
Dr. Fitzgerald says the changes were consistent with those associated with osteoarthritis.
"In general, we can say that after 30 days of microgravity, the process of cartilage degradation began," he says. "We saw changes in gene expression that were consistent with cartilage degradation."
Video footage taken by the mice showed that they were hovering around in their cabinet during the day. At night, recordings showed those struggling to climb over each and hang on the grid inside the cabinet. "The mice experienced some strain on the joints when they tried to hang on to each other. It was not a complete release," says Dr. Fitzgerald.
By comparison, the mice on the ground did not show any visible cartilage degradation. 19659005] "When there is no gravity pulling down on cartilage, it cannot maintain its structure, its integrity," says Dr. Fitzgerald. "On the ground, every time you take a step to go, you put that cartilage in. There's little in the room."
Dr. Fitzgerald says NASA is interested in developing a better understanding of what happens to the human body in space. More research is needed, he says, especially with a potential trip to Mars in the future.
"You can have some payload specialists and experienced pilots who already have some degree of pre-symptomatic cartilage damage at the time of their flight," says Dr. Fitzgerald. "Because cartilage in humans cannot repair, return to earth can potentially bring long-term health problems."
Image: Students astronauts knees to rehabilitate bedtime, terrestrial patients
Jamie Fitzgerald et al. Articular cartilage and sternal fibrocartilage react differently to prolonged microgravity, npj Microgravity (2019). DOI: 10,1038 / s41526-019-0063-6
Space travel and your joints (2019, May 22)
May 23, 2019
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