Mighty Mice Traveled To Space Station Have Returned To Earth
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On Tuesday morning, January 7, 2020, the 8 genetically enhanced “mighty mice”, along with 32 other non-enhanced mice, as part of a health experiment (Rodent Research-19) on the ISS (International Space Station), have returned to Earth. They splashed down in a SpaceX Dragon capsule in the Pacific Ocean. These 40 mice, eight of which were genetically engineered to be extremely muscular, may help to shed some lights on how to have human astronauts stay healthy in space. This health experiment were designed to improve scientists’ understanding of how microgravity affects muscle and bone degeneration.
Researchers engineered the 8 super-buff mice to lack the protein myostatin, which caused them to have twice the skeletal muscle mass of the average mouse. On the other hand, astronauts treated some of the non-genetically engineered mice aboard the ISS with an experimental drug that inhibits myostatin.
Researcher Se-Jin Lee, M.D.-Ph.D. (professor at JX-GM and Presidential Distinguished Professor at UConn School of Medicine) said in a press release, “The knowledge we gain about microgravity’s effects on muscles and bones will help us to enhance the health of astronauts – both in space and on Earth, and also better understand the promise that myostatin inhibitors hold for the elderly, people who are bedridden, and for people experiencing muscle wasting related to disease like AIDS, ALS, cancer, and so many others.”
Scientists launched genetically modified mice into space December 5 as part of a study to find ways to help maintain the health of astronauts in space They have twice the muscle mass of their “ordinary” counterparts. As VOA’s Arash Arabasadi reports, the research could provide insight into muscular degeneration in older populations and those with muscle-wasting conditions, in the video “‘Mighty Mice’ Possible Key to Maintaining Muscle Mass“, below:
Dr. Se-Jin Lee of JAX and UConn Health received a grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to conduct these experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS) during the December 2019-January 2020 mission. The team includes scientists from The Jackson Laboratory, UConn School of Medicine, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
In December of 2019, on SpaceX CRS-19, the Jackson Laboratory is sending to station 40 female mice, including a few that lack the gene for producing myostatin, a growth factor that normally acts to limit muscle growth in both mice and humans. These mutant mice lacking myostatin, dubbed “mighty mice,” develop additional muscle mass compared with normal mice. This investigation will examine the potential benefits of targeting the myostatin signaling pathway to help prevent diseases on Earth that result in muscle and bone loss. Microgravity induces rapid muscle and bone loss, providing accelerated models of disease for research aimed at improving therapeutics for patients on Earth, in the video “SpaceX CRS-19 Research Overview: Mighty Mice in Space“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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