Microgravity Reduces the Differentiation and Regenerative Potential of Embryonic Stem Cells
To cite this article:
Blaber Elizabeth A., Finkelstein Hayley, Dvorochkin Natalya, Sato Kevin Y., Yousuf Rukhsana, Burns Brendan P., Globus Ruth K., and Almeida Eduardo A.C.. Stem Cells and Development. November 15, 2015, 24(22): 2605-2621. doi:10.1089/scd.2015.0218.
Published in Volume: 24 Issue 22: November 10, 2015
Online Ahead of Print: October 22, 2015
Online Ahead of Editing: September 28, 2015
Elizabeth A. Blaber,1,2 Hayley Finkelstein,1 Natalya Dvorochkin,1 Kevin Y. Sato,3 Rukhsana Yousuf,1 Brendan P. Burns,2,4 Ruth K. Globus,1 and Eduardo A.C. Almeida1
1Space Biosciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
2School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
3FILMSS Wyle, Space Biology, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
4Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
© Elizabeth A. Blaber et al., 2015; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Address correspondence to:
Dr. Eduardo A.C. Almeida
Space Biosciences Division
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 236-7
Moffett Field, CA 94035
Received for publication June 25, 2015
Accepted after revision August 28, 2015
Mechanical unloading in microgravity is thought to induce tissue degeneration by various mechanisms, including inhibition of regenerative stem cell differentiation. To address this hypothesis, we investigated the effects of microgravity on early lineage commitment of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) using the embryoid body (EB) model of tissue differentiation. We found that exposure to microgravity for 15 days inhibits mESC differentiation and expression of terminal germ layer lineage markers in EBs. Additionally, microgravity-unloaded EBs retained stem cell self-renewal markers, suggesting that mechanical loading at Earth's gravity is required for normal differentiation of mESCs. Finally, cells recovered from microgravity-unloaded EBs and then cultured at Earth's gravity showed greater stemness, differentiating more readily into contractile cardiomyocyte colonies. These results indicate that mechanical unloading of stem cells in microgravity inhibits their differentiation and preserves stemness, possibly providing a cellular mechanistic basis for the inhibition of tissue regeneration in space and in disuse conditions on earth.
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