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The Response of Articular Cartilage to Microgravity (ARC00XX81)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Developmental biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mouse Strain: B6.SJL-Ptprca Pepcb/BoyJ (002014)

The objective of this experiment was to determine if the reduced biomechanical forces due to microgravity impair the ability of chondrocytes to maintain healthy articular cartilage, leading to increased cartilage breakdown; specifically whether the reduced mechanical forces associated with microgravity lead to osteoarthritis. Although the effects of microgravity on bone are well known and appear to be reversible, the effects of reduced mechanical forces on the cartilage surfaces of articulating joints are less well understood. Studies in humans and animals clearly demonstrate that osteoarthritis results from abnormal (both increased and decreased) mechanical forces on cartilage. Based on these findings, the hypothesis is that appropriate mechanical forces are critical for the health of articular cartilage. Following on from this, a further hypothesis is that the absence of significant biomechanical forces affects that ability of the chondrocyte to maintain healthy functioning cartilage. This may lead to accelerated cartilage breakdown and osteoarthritis.

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Cartilage, articular
Gene expression
Histological Techniques
Knee Osteoarthritis
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Composition, Matrix components, articular cartilage, mouse, Immunohistochemistry
Damage, Breakdown, articular cartilage, mouse, Modified Mankin histological semi-quantitative grading
Expression, gene, Whole genome, mRNA, articular cartilage, mouse, Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
Morphology, Cell density, articular cartilage, mouse, Modified Mankin histological semi-quantitative grading
Morphology, organization, Articular cartilage, mouse, Modified Mankin histological semi-quantitative grading
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-131 04/05/2010 04/20/2010 15 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Martha Del Alto
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source