It is seen that astronauts undergo various changes in their body composition during their stay in the spaceflights. They suffer lower muscle development. In fact, a similar kind of abnormality may grow within people on the surface of the earth too.
Age-related skeleton muscle disorder is becoming a considerable concern in almost all the nations. This disease is referred to as sarcopenia as confirmed by Louis Yuge who is a professor in the Hiroshima University and also the director of the Space Bio Laboratories. He further added that this issue is engulfing a significant part of Japan as the numbers of aged people are increasing in this nation.
The group led by Yuge is researching very minutely on this aspect, whereby they have found that the process that affects muscle development in space also affects similarly in the presence of Earth’s gravity as well. He and his team tried to figure out how simulated microgravity, i.e., space-like gravity hits cell differentiation as well as gene expression.
They performed a series of tests which involved growing the cells either in the standard gravity or inside of Gravite. It is for our information that Gravite is a machine that simulates gravity at such levels similar to what astronauts experience in the space. It has been observed that cells in microgravity demonstrate less cell differentiation as compared to that on the Earth’s surface. However, at the same time, it is also noted that in the absence of the drug muscles fiber are formed at a slower rate and have also shown less gene expression.
The group has also discovered that with the presence of gravity and even without it DNA methylation forms to be the most crucial element in regulating muscle cell differentiation. These are the data which show that genes affected by DNA methylation are the essential elements for treating patients with skeleton muscle atrophy.
The tests that have been conducted by the team can also be used in space as well where the muscle atrophy of the astronauts uses myotubes since it is simpler to understand the morphologically. Yuge is also a member of the NASA’s Advisory committee at the Kennedy Space Center, and it is as per his advice that NASA has even started to develop stem cells on the International Space Station. To further discuss this issue with the NASA officials, Yuge and his team members will conduct a massive experiment at Center for Advancement of Science in Space.