|Purpose:||This project entitled « Using simulated microgravity to understand bone loss & develop countermeasures in space » studies on long duration space missions have shown that, due to weightlessness, astronauts may lose as much as twenty percent of their bone mass, which leads to a significant increase in risk of fractures and other complications. After studying two of the major bone cells in space, this project will now use simulated microgravity to analyze osteocytes, the major mechanical sensing cells in bone. This project involves developing in vitro assays within a simulated microgravity platform to understand the influence of weight on osteocyte form and function.
The studies of bone in a simulated microgravity environment (Synthecon) will also allow a controlled, detailed analysis of the osteoporotic disease process in astronauts.
The project long-term objectives are ; to publish the Bone Drop technology for broad implementation by researchers studying diverse cell types, identify candidate genes affected by simulated microgravity in osteocytes to be commercialized for therapeutic interventions and distribute a sound, accessible fitness program to improve the lives of Canadians. Normally, astronauts are difficult to study in space due to numerous countermeasures being applied simultaneously. Thus, there is a pressing need to utilize controlled, reproducible, simulated microgravity platforms for developing novel countermeasures and assessing their effectiveness in preventing bone loss.