Vector-averaged gravity does not alter acetylcholine receptor single channel properties. (1/27)

To examine the physiological sensitivity of membrane receptors to altered gravity, we examined the single channel properties of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR), in co-cultures of Xenopus myocytes and neurons, to vector-averaged gravity in the clinostat. This experimental paradigm produces an environment in which, from the cell's perspective, the gravitational vector is "nulled" by continuous averaging. In that respect, the clinostat simulates one aspect of space microgravity where the gravity force is greatly reduced. After clinorotation, the AChR channel mean open-time and conductance were statistically not different from control values but showed a rotation-dependent trend that suggests a process of cellular adaptation to clinorotation. These findings therefore suggest that the ACHR channel function may not be affected in the microgravity of space despite changes in the receptor's cellular organization.  (+info)

Effect of changing the gravity vector on respiratory output and control. (2/27)

We studied the respiratory output in five subjects exposed to parabolic flights [gravity vector 1, 1.8 and 0 gravity vector in the craniocaudal direction (Gz)] and when switching from sitting to supine (legs bent at the knees). Despite differences in total respiratory compliance (highest at 0 Gz and in supine and minimum at 1.8 Gz), no significant changes in elastic inspiratory work were observed in the various conditions, except when comparing 1.8 Gz with 1 Gz (subjects were in the seated position in all circumstances), although the elastic work had an inverse relationship with total respiratory compliance that was highest at 0 Gz and in supine posture and minimum at 1.8 Gz. Relative to 1 Gz, lung resistance (airways plus lung tissue) increased significantly by 52% in the supine but slightly decreased at 0 Gz. We calculated, for each condition, the tidal volume changes based on the energy available in the preceding phase and concluded that an increase in inspiratory muscle output occurs when respiratory load increases (e.g., going from 0 to 1.8 Gz), whereas a decrease occurs in the opposite case (e.g., from 1.8 to 0 Gz). Despite these immediate changes, ventilation increased, going to 1.8 and 0 Gz (up to approximately 23%), reflecting an increase in mean inspiratory flow rate, tidal volume, and respiratory frequency, while ventilation decreased (approximately -14%), shifting to supine posture (transition time approximately 15 s). These data suggest a remarkable feature in the mechanical arrangement of the respiratory system such that it can maintain the ventilatory output with small changes in inspiratory muscle work in face of considerable changes in configuration and mechanical properties.  (+info)

Meiotic progression of isolated mouse spermatocytes under simulated microgravity. (3/27)

Progression through the prophase of the first meiotic division can be obtained in culture by treatment of mouse spermatocytes with the serine/threonine phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid. Chromosome condensation during this G2/M transition involves the activation of the MAPK pathway, which causes the activation of Nek2 and the phosphorylation of the chromatin architectural protein Hmga2. In an effort to set up conditions to allow a spontaneous progression of mouse spermatocytes through meiosis, we have investigated the cell-cycle features of these cells cultured for 24 h with a rotary cell culture system in a humidified atmosphere in a thermostatic incubator to simulate a microgravity environment. Morphological analysis of nuclear squashes indicated a 2-fold increase in late-pachytene spermatocytes with highly condensed chromosomes, and a contemporaneous decrease of mid-pachytene cells with less condensed chromatin. Microgravity induced a 2-fold activation of the cyclinB-cdc2 complex, confirming at the molecular level that cell-cycle progression had occurred. Moreover, using immuno-kinase assays with specific substrates we have demonstrated that the meiotic progression obtained under microgravity conditions is accompanied by activation of the Erk1/p90Rsk2 pathway. These data indicated that activation of the MAPK pathway correlates with chromatin condensation even under conditions in which meiotic progression occurs spontaneously and is not induced by a drug. We suggest that culture under microgravity conditions might help to release the block that inhibits isolated spermatocytes from progressing through prophase at unit gravity, and to study the physiological events of germ cell differentiation in vitro.  (+info)

Effects of gravity and blood volume shifts on cardiogenic oscillations in respired gas. (4/27)

During the cardiac cycle, cardiogenic oscillations of expired gas (x) concentrations (COS([x])) are generated. At the same time, there are heart-synchronous cardiogenic oscillations of airway flow (COS(flow)), where inflow occurs during systole. We hypothesized that both phenomena, although primarily generated by the heartbeat, would react differently to the cephalad blood shift caused by inflation of an anti-gravity (anti-G) suit and to changes in gravity. Twelve seated subjects performed a rebreathing-breath-holding-expiration maneuver with a gas mixture containing O2 and He at normal (1 G) and moderately increased gravity (2 G); an anti-G suit was inflated to 85 mmHg in each condition. When the anti-G suit was inflated, COS(flow) amplitude increased (P = 0.0028) at 1 G to 186% of the control value without inflation (1-G control) and at 2 G to 203% of the control value without inflation (2-G control). In contrast, the amplitude of COS of the concentration of the blood-soluble gas O2 (COS([O2/He])), an index of the differences in pulmonary perfusion between lung units, declined to 75% of the 1-G control value and to 74% of the 2-G control value (P = 0.0030). There were no significant changes in COS(flow) or COS([O2/He]) amplitudes with gravity. We conclude that the heart-synchronous mechanical agitation of the lungs, as expressed by COS(flow), is highly dependent on peripheral-to-central blood shifts. In contrast, COS([blood-soluble gas]) appears relatively independent of this mechanical agitation and seems to be determined mainly by differences in intrapulmonary perfusion.  (+info)

Circulatory galanin levels increase severalfold with intense orthostatic challenge in healthy humans. (5/27)

The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that plasma galanin concentration (pGal) is regularly increased in healthy humans with extensive orthostatic stress. Twenty-six test persons (14 men, 12 women) were brought to an orthostatic end point via a progressive cardiovascular stress (PCS) protocol consisting of 70 degrees head-up tilt plus increasing levels of lower body negative pressure until either hemodynamically defined presyncope or other signs of orthostatic intolerance occurred (nausea, clammy skin, excessive sweating, pallor of the skin). We further tested for possible gender, gravitational, and muscular training influences on plasma pGal responses: PCS was applied before and after 3 wk of daily vertical acceleration exposure training on a Human Powered Centrifuge. Test persons were randomly assigned to active (with bicycle work) or passive (without work) groups (seven men, six women in each group). Resting pGal was 26+/-3 pg/ml in men and 39+/-15 pg/ml in women (not significant); women had higher galanin responses (4.9-fold increase) than men (3.5-fold, P=0.017) to PCS exposure. Overall, PCS increased pGal to 186+/-5 pg/ml (P=0.0003), without significant differences between presyncope vs. orthostatic intolerance, pre- vs. postcentrifuge, or active vs. passive gravitational training. Increases in pGal were poorly related to synchronous elevations in plasma vasopressin. We conclude that galanin is regularly increased in healthy humans under conditions of presyncopal orthostatic stress, the response being independent of gravity training but larger in women than in men.  (+info)

A proteomic approach to analysing responses of Arabidopsis thaliana callus cells to clinostat rotation. (6/27)

Callus cells of Arabidopsis thaliana (cv. Landsberg erecta) were exposed for 8 h to a horizontal clinostat rotation (H, simulated weightlessness), a vertical clinostat rotation (V, clinostat control), or a stationary control (S) growth condition. The amount of glucose and fructose apparently decreased, while starch content increased in the H compared with the V- and S-treated cells. In order to investigate the influences of clinostat rotation on the cellular proteome further, the proteome alterations induced by horizontal and vertical clinostat rotation have been comparatively analysed by high-resolution two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Image analysis of silver-stained 2-D gels revealed that 80 protein spots showed quantitative and qualitative variations that were significantly (P <0.01) and reproducibly different between the clinorotated (H or V) and the stationary control samples. Protein spots excised from 2-D gels were analysed by microbe high performance liquid chromatography-ion trap-mass spectrometry (LC-IT-MS) to obtain the tandem mass (MS/MS) spectra. 18 protein spots, which showed significant expression alteration only under the H condition compared with those under V and S conditions, were identified. Of these proteins, seven were involved in stress responses, and four protein spots were identified as key enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism and lipid biosynthesis. Two reversibly glycosylated cell wall proteins were down-regulated in the H samples. Other proteins such as protein disulphide isomerase, transcription initiation factor IIF, and two ribosomal proteins also exhibited altered expression under the H condition. The data presented in this study illustrate that clinostat rotation of Arabidopsis callus cells has a significant impact on the expression of proteins involved in general stress responses, metabolic pathways, gene activation/transcription, protein synthesis, and cell wall biosynthesis.  (+info)

Increased diameter and enhanced myogenic response of saphenous vein induced by two-week experimental orthostasis are reversible. (7/27)

Previously, increased diameter and enhanced myogenic tone were seen after 2-week 45o head-up (HUT2) in the rat. We studied the reversibility and the effect of extended tilt on this phenomenon using two experimental groups: HUT2 plus 2-week horizontal (HUT2HOR2), and 4-week tilting (HUT4). 4-weeks in normal cages (NC4) served as control. Diameter of saphenous vein (SV) in 2-20 mm Hg pressure range, wall and media thickness, endothelial and smooth muscle cell densities, and cell proliferation were measured. The diameter of SV from HUT4 was significantly larger compared with HUT2HOR2 or NC4 within the whole pressure range both in Krebs-Ringer (870.4+/-21.3 vs. 778.2+/-24.9 and 771.6+/-28.1 microm at 10 mm Hg, respectively) and in Ca(2+)-free solution. Myogenic and norepinephrine-induced vascular tone, wall and media thickness did not differ among the three groups. Endothelial cell density decreased in HUT4 (10.7+/-1.2) vs. HUT2HOR2 (15.1+/-1.0) and NC4 (15.3+/-0.6), while that of smooth muscle was unchanged. No cell proliferation marker was seen. In conclusion, both increased diameter and enhanced myogenic tone of SV seen in HUT2 proved to be reversible. HUT4 resulted in increased SV diameter, similarly to HUT2, however, vascular tone was not amplified. This suggests that a prolonged orthostatic load may readjust the function of smooth muscle.  (+info)

Alterations of the actin cytoskeleton and increased nitric oxide synthesis are common features in human primary endothelial cell response to changes in gravity. (8/27)

Because endothelial cells are fundamental to the maintenance of the functional integrity of the vascular wall, endothelial modifications in altered gravity conditions might offer some insights into the mechanisms leading to circulatory impairment in astronauts. We cultured human endothelial cells in a dedicated centrifuge (MidiCAR) to generate hypergravity and in two different devices, namely the Rotating Wall Vessel and the Random Positioning Machine, to generate hypogravity. Hypogravity stimulated endothelial growth, did not affect migration, and enhanced nitric oxide production. It also remodeled the actin cytoskeleton and reduced the total amounts of actin. Hypergravity did not affect endothelial growth, markedly stimulated migration, and enhanced nitric oxide synthesis. In addition, hypergravity altered the distribution of actin fibers without, however, affecting the total amounts of actin. A short exposure to hypergravity (8 min) abolished the hypogravity induced growth advantage. Our results indicate that cytoskeletal alterations and increased nitric oxide production represent common denominators in endothelial responses to both hypogravity and hypergravity.  (+info)