Dispersion of 0.5- to 2-micron aerosol in microG and hypergravity as a probe of convective inhomogeneity in the lung.
We used aerosol boluses to study convective gas mixing in the lung of four healthy subjects on the ground (1 G) and during short periods of microgravity (microG) and hypergravity ( approximately 1. 6 G). Boluses of 0.5-, 1-, and 2-micron-diameter particles were inhaled at different points in an inspiration from residual volume to 1 liter above functional residual capacity. The volume of air inhaled after the bolus [the penetration volume (Vp)] ranged from 150 to 1,500 ml. Aerosol concentration and flow rate were continuously measured at the mouth. The dispersion, deposition, and position of the bolus in the expired gas were calculated from these data. For each particle size, both bolus dispersion and deposition increased with Vp and were gravity dependent, with the largest dispersion and deposition occurring for the largest G level. Whereas intrinsic particle motions (diffusion, sedimentation, inertia) did not influence dispersion at shallow depths, we found that sedimentation significantly affected dispersion in the distal part of the lung (Vp >500 ml). For 0.5-micron-diameter particles for which sedimentation velocity is low, the differences between dispersion in microG and 1 G likely reflect the differences in gravitational convective inhomogeneity of ventilation between microG and 1 G. (+info)
Hypergravity stimulates collagen synthesis in human osteoblast-like cells: evidence for the involvement of p44/42 MAP-kinases (ERK 1/2).
The formation and organization of skeletal tissue is strongly influenced by mechanical stimulation. There is increasing evidence that gravitational stress has an impact on the expression of early response genes in mammalian cells and may play a role in the formation of extracellular matrix. In particular, osteoblasts may be unique in their response to gravitational stimuli since in these cells microgravity has been reported to reduce collagen synthesis, while in fibroblasts the opposite effect was observed. Here, we have investigated the influence of hypergravity induced by centrifugation on the collagen synthesis of human osteoblast-like cells (hOB) and studied the possible involvement of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling cascade. Collagen synthesis was significantly increased by 42+/-16% under hypergravity at 13 x g, an effect paralleled by the enhanced expression of the collagen I alpha 2 (COL1A2) mRNA. No difference was seen in the proportion of collagen types I, III, and V synthesized by hOB. Hypergravity induced a markedly elevated phosphorylation of the p44/42 MAP kinases (ERK 1/2). The inhibition of this pathway suppressed the hypergravity-induced stimulation of both collagen synthesis as well as COL1A2 mRNA expression by about 50%. Our results show that the collagen synthesis of non-transformed hOB is stimulated under hypergravitational conditions. This response appears to be partially mediated by the MAP kinase pathway. (+info)
The gravity field of Mars: results from Mars Global Surveyor.
Observations of the gravity field of Mars reveal a planet that has responded differently in its northern and southern hemispheres to major impacts and volcanic processes. The rough, elevated southern hemisphere has a relatively featureless gravitational signature indicating a state of near-isostatic compensation, whereas the smooth, low northern plains display a wider range of gravitational anomalies that indicates a thinner but stronger surface layer than in the south. The northern hemisphere shows evidence for buried impact basins, although none large enough to explain the hemispheric elevation difference. The gravitational potential signature of Tharsis is approximately axisymmetric and contains the Tharsis Montes but not the Olympus Mons or Alba Patera volcanoes. The gravity signature of Valles Marineris extends into Chryse and provides an estimate of material removed by early fluvial activity. (+info)
Altered gravity downregulates aquaporin-1 protein expression in choroid plexus.
Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) is a water channel expressed abundantly at the apical pole of choroidal epithelial cells. The protein expression was quantified by immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy in adult rats adapted to altered gravity. AQP1 expression was decreased by 64% at the apical pole of choroidal cells in rats dissected 5.5-8 h after a 14-day spaceflight. AQP1 was significantly overexpressed in rats readapted for 2 days to Earth's gravity after an 11-day flight (48% overshoot, when compared with the value measured in control rats). In a ground-based model that simulates some effects of weightlessness and alters choroidal structures and functions, apical AQP1 expression was reduced by 44% in choroid plexus from rats suspended head down for 14 days and by 69% in rats suspended for 28 days. Apical AQP1 was rapidly enhanced in choroid plexus of rats dissected 6 h after a 14-day suspension (57% overshoot, in comparison with control rats) and restored to the control level when rats were dissected 2 days after the end of a 14-day suspension. Decreases in the apical expression of choroidal AQP1 were also noted in rats adapted to hypergravity in the NASA 24-ft centrifuge: AQP1 expression was reduced by 47% and 85% in rats adapted for 14 days to 2 G and 3 G, respectively. AQP1 is downregulated in the apical membrane of choroidal cells in response to altered gravity and is rapidly restored after readaptation to normal gravity. This suggests that water transport, which is partly involved in the choroidal production of cerebrospinal fluid, might be decreased during spaceflight and after chronic hypergravity. (+info)
Microgravity and hypergravity effects on fertilization of the salamander Pleurodeles waltl (urodele amphibian).
Effects of microgravity (microG) on fertilization were studied in the urodele amphibian Pleurodeles waltl on board the MIR space station. Genetic and cytomorphologic analyses ruled out parthenogenesis or gynogenesis and proved that fertilization did occur in microG. Actual fertilization was demonstrated by the analysis of the distribution of peptidase-1 genes, a polymorphic sex-linked enzyme, in progenies obtained in microG. Further evidence of fertilization was provided by the presence of spermatozoa in the perivitelline space and in the fertilization layer of the microG eggs and by the presence of a female pronucleus and male pronuclei in the egg cytoplasm. Experiments in microG and in 1.4G, 2G, and 3G hypergravity showed for the first time that, compared to eggs in 1G, several characteristics of the fertilization process including the cortical reaction and the microvillus transformations were altered depending on the gravitational force applied to the eggs. Microvillus elevation, the most evident feature, was reduced on microG-eggs and amplified on eggs submitted to 2G and 3G. No lethal consequences of these alterations on the early development of microG-eggs were observed. (+info)
Selected contribution: redistribution of pulmonary perfusion during weightlessness and increased gravity.
To compare the relative contributions of gravity and vascular structure to the distribution of pulmonary blood flow, we flew with pigs on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration KC-135 aircraft. A series of parabolas created alternating weightlessness and 1.8-G conditions. Fluorescent microspheres of varying colors were injected into the pulmonary circulation to mark regional blood flow during different postural and gravitational conditions. The lungs were subsequently removed, air dried, and sectioned into approximately 2 cm(3) pieces. Flow to each piece was determined for the different conditions. Perfusion heterogeneity did not change significantly during weightlessness compared with normal and increased gravitational forces. Regional blood flow to each lung piece changed little despite alterations in posture and gravitational forces. With the use of multiple stepwise linear regression, the contributions of gravity and vascular structure to regional perfusion were separated. We conclude that both gravity and the geometry of the pulmonary vascular tree influence regional pulmonary blood flow. However, the structure of the vascular tree is the primary determinant of regional perfusion in these animals. (+info)
Effects of 2-G exposure on temperature regulation, circadian rhythms, and adiposity in UCP2/3 transgenic mice.
Altered ambient force environments affect energy expenditure via changes in thermoregulation, metabolism, and body composition. Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) have been implicated as potential enhancers of energy expenditure and may participate in some of the adaptations to a hyperdynamic environment. To test this hypothesis, this study examined the homeostatic and circadian profiles of body temperature (T(b)) and activity and adiposity in wild-type and UCP2/3 transgenic mice exposed to 1 and 2 G. There were no significant differences between the groups in the means, amplitudes, or phases of T(b) and activity rhythms at either the 1- or 2-G level. Percent body fat was significantly lower in transgenic (5.2 +/- 0. 2%) relative to the wild-type mice (6.2 +/- 0.1%) after 2-G exposure; mass-adjusted mesenteric and epididymal fat pads in transgenic mice were also significantly lower (P < 0.05). The data suggest that 1) the actions of two UCPs (UCP2 and UCP3) do not contribute to an altered energy balance at 2 G, although 2) UCP2 and UCP3 do contribute to the utilization of lipids as a fuel substrate at 2 G. (+info)
Restoration of gravitropic sensitivity in starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis by hypergravity.
Despite the extensive study of plant gravitropism, there have been few experiments which have utilized hypergravity as a tool to investigate gravisensitivity in flowering plants. Previous studies have shown that starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis are less sensitive to gravity compared to the wild-type (WT). In this report, the question addressed was whether hypergravity could restore the sensitivity of starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis. The strains examined include a WT, a starchless mutant and a reduced-starch mutant. Vertical orientation studies with dark-grown seedlings indicate that increased centrifugal acceleration improves orientation relative to the acceleration vector for all strains, even the WT. For starchless roots, growth of seedlings under constant 5 g acceleration was required to restore orientation to the level of the WT at 1 g. In contrast, approximately 10 g was required to restore the orientation of the starchless mutant hypocotyls to a WT level at 1 g. Examination of plastid position in root cap columella cells of the starchless mutant revealed that the restoration of gravitropic sensitivity was correlated with the sedimentation of plastids toward the distal cell wall. Even in WT plants, hypergravity caused greater sedimentation of plastids and improved gravitropic capability. Collectively, these experiments support the hypothesis of a statolith-based system of gravity perception in plants. As far as is known, this is the first report to use hypergravity to study the mechanisms of gravitropism in Arabidopsis. (+info)