The effect of simulated microgravity on osteoblasts is independent of the induction of apoptosis

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Bone loss during spaceflight has been attributed, in part, to a reduction in osteoblast number, altered gene expression, and an increase in cell death. To test the hypothesis that microgravity induces osteoblast apoptosis and suppresses the mature phenotype, we created a novel system to simulate spaceflight microgravity combining control and experimental cells within the same in vitro environment. Cells were encapsulated into two types of alginate carriers: non-rotationally stabilized (simulated microgravity) and rotationally stabilized (normal gravity). Using these specialized carriers, we were able to culture MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells for 1-14 days in simulated microgravity and normal gravity in the same rotating wall vessel (RWV). The viability of cells was not affected by simulated microgravity, nor was the reductive reserve. To determine if simulated microgravity sensitized the osteoblasts to apoptogens, cells were challenged with staurosporine or sodium nitroprusside and the cell death was measured. Simulated microgravity did not alter the sensitivity of C3H10T-1/2 stem cells, MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells, or MLO-A5 osteocyte-like cells to the action of these agents. RT-PCR analysis indicated that MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts maintained expression of RUNX2, osteocalcin, and collagen type I, but alkaline phosphatase expression was decreased in cells subjected to simulated microgravity for 5 days. We conclude that osteoblast apoptosis is not induced by vector-averaged gravity, thus suggesting that microgravity does not directly induce osteoblast death. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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Journal of cellular biochemistry





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This article was published in Journal of cellular biochemistry, Volume 102, Issue 2, Pages 483-495.

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Copyright © 2007.

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