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EXPERIMENT INFORMATION

Approaching Gravity as a Continuum: Musculoskeletal effects of fractional reloading (80NSSC19K1598)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus Species: Rat Strain: Wistar

Description
OBJECTIVES:
The effect of full mechanical unloading has been extensively studied in both rodents and humans using ground-based models. Recently, rodent partial weight bearing (PWB) models have revealed that partial gravity provides dose-dependent rescue of the musculoskeletal system as compared to full unloading. Separate work has also shown that after unloading, an abrupt mechanical reloading to 1g causes additional musculoskeletal injury. Here, we propose to employ both PWB and hindlimb unloading models sequentially to investigate gravity as a continuum and its impact on musculoskeletal adaptation to reloading. This work will have critical practical and scientific outcomes, and will provide for the first time, insights into the musculoskeletal responses to adult to fractional gravity after a period of microgravity (as would occur when traveling to Mars). It will also provide information on the mitigating effects of partial gravity after extended unloading. Our Specific Aims are: 1. To determine the physiological adaptations of the musculoskeletal system in males to the fractional gravity of either the Moon or Mars after experiencing microgravity in transit. 2. To determine the physiological adaptations of the musculoskeletal system in females to the fractional gravity of either the Moon or Mars after experiencing microgravity in transit. 3. To investigate the potential musculoskeletal benefits of artificial gravity in-flight before returning to Earth. Specifically, we plan to investigate the resulting musculoskeletal alterations in transitioning from 2 weeks of 0g to 0.2, 0.4, and 0.7g, hypothesizing that there is a dose-dependence to the reloading, including recovery and associated injury. We will also assess the potential benefit of using these three levels of PWB as intermediate steps on the way to transitioning back to 1g. Thorough post mortem analyses, we will able to identify the different processes that might be involved in reloading injury and its mitigation. Stress levels and metabolic/hormonal alterations will also be evaluated. Ultimately, we hope to provide the space biology community a deeper understanding of the musculoskeletal impact of fractional gravity in relation to both microgravity and Earth gravity.


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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
10/01/2019
Proposal Source
2018 Space Biology (ROSBio) NNH18ZTT001N-FG