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Effect of Microgravity on Adipose Tissue Remodeling and Function (80NSSC19K0427)
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology

In this study, we will develop a 3D in vitro model of adipose tissue for culture under microgravity conditions to mimic spaceflight. Rotating wall vessels allow us to generate a weightlessness condition and these will be compared to standard (Earth gravity) dynamic cultures. By first evaluating the effect microgravity has on 3D adipocytes alone, we can isolate the metabolic effects independent of vascular flow. Upon characterization on the effect on adipocytes alone, we can begin to add complexity by co-culturing with endothelial cells to provide a vascular network. This allows us to study how vascular remodeling due to changes in flow and/or pressure can impact metabolic function.

Upon conclusion of this one year period, this project will generate a fundamental knowledge base and working model of (vascular) adipose tissue function under microgravity conditions. These findings will have major implications on space travel and human health on Earth. This will provide preliminary data for several larger scope grants as these models can be probed in more detail for mechanistic understanding of the effects of gravity on human metabolic function. The studies can also be expanded to determine how nutrients are stored and metabolized in adipose tissue differently in space and on Earth by supplementing the media with various fatty acids (unsaturated versus saturated) and glucose levels (low versus high). Future directions would also include how obese adipose tissue behaves differently as a result of microgravity exposure and how microgravity may inhibit or enhance browning (thermogenic capacity) of white adipose tissue.

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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Helen Stewart
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2016-17 Space Biology (ROSBio) NNH16ZTT001N-FG