Effects of Teriparatide in Bone Cells
Astronauts in prolonged space flight and bedridden patients experience bone density loss due to a lack of mechanical stimuli. The mechanisms by which cells transduce physical stimuli to chemical signals are poorly understood. The goal of this experiment is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of calcium flux in response to hyper- and microgravity. Thus, the “Weightless Wonder” is an ideal environment in which to conduct the experiment. The primary focus of this experiment is to determine if the pharmaceutical teriparatide will alter calcium fluctuation in response to hyper- and microgravity. The FDA approved pharmaceutical teriparatide is the recombinant form of amino acids 1-34 of parathyroid hormone and is known to induce bone formation in bedridden and osteoporotic patients. During the team’s research, no references to the testing of teriparatide in hyper- or microgravity conditions were found. Research proposed by the 2012-2013 Boise State Microgravity Team will be the initial real-time exploration of teriparatide at the cellular level in hyper- and microgravity. The team hypothesizes that changes in cytosolic calcium concentrations in response to hyper- and microgravity will be enhanced by the presence of teriparatide. An original apparatus designed, built, and successfully flown by the 2011-2012 Boise State University team will be utilized to measure calcium fluctuations. Modifications will be made to the apparatus to more accurately monitor rapid calcium fluctuations. The modified version will include: (1) better image capture devices, (2) increased sample size, and (3) streamlined data analysis. To optimize cell culture conditions and data acquisition, specific ground experiments will be performed prior to the flight experiment. This unique experimental design will improve understanding of molecular mechanisms of calcium signaling in bone cell response to gravitational changes. This understanding should lead to improved skeletal health for astronauts.