Space medicine: use of ex vivo human respiratory mucosa in the survey of the effects of microgravity on the respiratory system

Risultato della ricerca: Meeting Abstract


In the near future, the length and scope of space travel isset to increase significantly. The number of individuals whowill have access to extra-terrestrial travels is also increasing.In view of the growing international interest towards mannedlong-term space exploration, possible effects of exposure tomicrogravity conditions affecting the respiratory system aresubject of interest by major space agencies (NASA and ESAprimarily). Our team has developed an advanced 3d tissuemodel of the human bronchial mucosa within a wide researchproject involving several universities and space agencies atinternational level. The model will be used to study the structural/functional alterations of the bronchial mucosa that may arise from prolonged exposure to reduced gravity conditions.Among the different modifications to be evaluated: development and performance of the pulmonary barrier; possible ciliogenesis modification due to its effects on fluid mechanicsand mechanotransduction; formation of multi-cellular structures (Cell-Cell and ECM-Cell Interactions). The design andrealization of experiments aboard the International SpaceStation (ISS) often clashes with greater difficulties than atground level. Our work was to check the resilience of themodel to the prohibitive environmental conditions present onboard the vectors that transport the samples to the ISS, and toadapt the model to engineering requirements for proper functionality within the BIOLAB of ISS itself. To verify this, cell cultures were subjected to various boundary conditions: temperatures lower than growth optimum, reduced concentrations ofCO2, restriction of gas exchange, prolonged starvation andstorage of the culture medium at high temperatures. Thebronchial mucosa cultures were analysed at the end of thetreatments and their morphology was evaluated. We alsoused the monitoring of the Trans Epithelial Electric Resistanceto evaluate the state of health of the cultures. The dataobtained demonstrated how this culture model is able to overcome the critical phases of the journey to ISS and how it can conform to restrictive engineering requirements. It is possibleto assert that in addition to the accurate reproduction of thebronchial human mucosa, the cell culture model possesses thecharacteristics necessary to be used in studies in an extremeenvironment such as the ISS, being able to provide data thatcould be relevant for future manned spaceflights.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)7-7
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

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