Space travel directly induces skeletal muscle atrophy
Vandenburgh, H × Chromiak, J Shansky, J Del Tatto, M Lemaire, José #
Federation amer soc exp biol
FASEB Journal vol:13 issue:9 pages:1031-1038
Space travel causes rapid and pronounced skeletal muscle wasting in humans that reduces their long-term flight capabilities, To develop effective countermeasures, the basis of this atrophy needs to be better understood. Space travel may cause muscle atrophy indirectly by altering circulating levels of factors such as growth hormone, glucocorticoids, and anabolic steroids and/or by a direct effect on the muscle fibers themselves. To determine whether skeletal muscle cells are directly affected by space travel, tissue-cultured avian skeletal muscle cells were tissue engineered into bioartificial muscles and flown in perfusion bioreactors for 9 to 10 days aboard the Space Transportation System (STS, i.e., Space Shuttle). Significant muscle fiber atrophy occurred due to a decrease in protein synthesis rates without alterations in protein degradation, Return of the muscle cells to Earth stimulated protein synthesis rates of both muscle-specific and extracellular matrix proteins relative to ground controls. These results show for the first time that skeletal muscle fibers are directly responsive to space travel and should be a target for countermeasure development.