Effects of Microgravity-Induced Compromise of Cell Structure On Stem Cell Differentiation

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Engineering


Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Sponsor

Gunes Uzer


While in space, astronauts exercise frequently to combat bone and muscle loss due to weightlessness. This loss in bone can lead to serious health problems, one of which is increased fracture risk. Cells known to play a vital role in bone formation are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) under physiologic loading undergo osteogenesis to replace and reinforce the skeleton. When loading is absent, in conditions MSCs in bone marrow become increasingly biased towards adipogenesis at the expense of osteogenesis. We have found that subjecting MSCs to simulated Microgravity (sMG) compromises focal adhesions, cytoskeleton and their nuclear connector LINC complex (Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton). We hypothesize that this disruption of cytoskeleton will lead to compromised differentiation capacity in MSCs. To test this hypothesis we will apply sMG to MSCs under either adipogenic or osteogenic constraints. Osteogenesis will be assessed by Alizarin red standing to quantify calcium deposition while adipogenesis will be quantified by measuring protein levels of known radiophonic marker Adiponectin. Findings from this study will reveal how sMG-induced loss of cytoskeletal structure affects stem cell differentiation.

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