Human heart cells behave differently in space – SellRegular

By daniellenierenberg

As per a recent study, Human heart muscle cells show some changes in the way they function in space, although they operate normally within 10 to 12 days after returning to the Earth, as per the new study. The research examined the cell-level cardiac function and gene expression in human heart cells cultured aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for 5.5 weeks. Coverage to microgravity altered the expression of thousands of genes, but often standard patterns of gene expression reappeared within ten days after returning to the Earth, the researchers said. Our study is novel because it is the first to use human induced pluripotent stem cells to study the effects of spaceflight on human heart function, as stated by Joseph C Wu of Stanford University School of Medicine in the US.

Past studies have revealed that spaceflight induces physiological changes in cardiac function, which includes lowered arterial pressure, reduced heart rate, and increased cardiac output. On the other hand, to date, most cardiovascular microgravity physiology research has been conducted either in non-human models or at tissue, organ, or systemic levels. Comparatively, little is known to date about the role of microgravity in influencing human cardiac function at the cellular level. Wu and his collaborators examined human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). They removed hiPSC lines from three individuals by reprogramming blood cells and then differentiated them into hiPSC-CMs. Upon returning to Earth, space-flown hiPSC-CMs showed normal morphology and structure. However, they did adapt through modification of their beating pattern and calcium recycling pattern, the researchers explained. They also conducted RNA sequencing of hiPSC-CMs harvested at around 4 weeks aboard the ISS, and 10 to 12 days after returning to Earth.

These results showed that 2,647 genes were differentially expressed among flight, post-flight & ground control samples, the researchers stated. Gene pathways associated with mitochondrial function were expressed more in space-flown hiPSC-CMs, they further said. Comparing the samples revealed that hiPSC-CMs implement a unique gene expression pattern during spaceflight, which reverts to one that is very similar to ground side controls upon return to regular gravity, as per the researchers. These studies may offer insight into cellular mechanisms that could improve astronaut health during long-duration spaceflight, or potentially lay the foundation for latest insights into enhancing heart health on Earth, he further added.

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Human heart cells behave differently in space - SellRegular

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