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Telomere Length Regulation in Muscle Atrophy (80NSSC19K1602)
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mouse Strain: C57BL/6

During the NASA Twin Study Previous, telomere length changes were observed in blood cells. Telomeres are specific sequences at the end of the chromosomes, protecting them from deterioration, much like the plastic tip at the end of a shoelace. Muscle atrophy is one of the main characteristics of astronauts in space. The only way to minimize muscle atrophy is through intensive exercise every day. However, the effects of telomere length changes in adult muscle cells remain unexplored. Interestingly, our lab recently developed a new method which allowed, for the first time, telomere length measurements in specialized cells within the adult muscles, including human tissues. We found that telomere shortening is a district feature of muscle stem cells (MuSCs) in atrophied muscles as well as in stem cells after repeated cycles of muscle damage and repair, similar to the ones observed in intensive exercise.

Central Objectives:
Aim 1: Determine the combined effects of weightlessness and radiation exposure on telomere length of MuSCs.
Aim 2: Define the cellular outcomes MuSC-depended telomere length changes during muscle atrophy.
Aim 3: Investigate the molecular mechanism of telomere length in MuSCs.

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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
2018 Space Biology (ROSBio) NNH18ZTT001N-FG