Analysis of the functional alterations induced by microgravity in human satellite cells (SCs)
Università degli studi di Chieti
Dept Neuroscience Imaging and Clinical Sciences
Gianluca Romani
Stefania Fulle
4 weeks
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
A prolonged exposure to microgravity causes atrophy of skeletal muscles by reducing numbers and dimensions of the myofibres, thus representing a major obstacle to human long-term space flights. Muscle growth, maintenance and repair are largely dependent on SCs, muscle adult stem cells endowed with the ability to activate, proliferate and build new myofibers or repair the damaged ones. Microgravity conditions are likely to induce muscle atrophy by affecting SC biology and functionality. Although data about the effects of microgravity on murine SCs have been reported, information about direct effects of microgravity on human SCs is completely lacking. The knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying microgravity-induced muscle atrophy is crucial in this regard.
What is the aim of the project?
We investigate the molecular, cellular and functional modifications induced by the exposure to microgravity, both simulated on Ground by the use of Random Positioning Machine (RPM) and real on board of the International Space Station (ISS), in human muscle SCs and their progeny, the myoblasts. In the RPM the sample's position with regard to the Earth's gravity vector direction is constantly changing thus mimicking a zero-gravity environment thank to the principle of 'gravity-vector-averaging'. We will investigate in parallel the biological behavior and gene expression profile of human SC cultured in the following three conditions: i) on Ground; ii) on Ground with the use of RPM; and, iii) on board of the International Space Station (ISS). Human SCs will be isolated from biopsies from vastus lateralis (VL) muscles.
What techniques and methods are used?
Human SCs will be isolated from biopsies from vastus lateralis (VL) muscles. SC will be expanded in vitro to obtain the sufficient number of their progeny, the myoblasts, to perform all the experiments planned above. This study includes RNA extraction, RT-PCR detection of muscle gene expression, electrophoresis, immunocytochemistry, prospective collection and interpretation of data.
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will learn how to: - prepare a muscle stem cells culture - sterilize laboratory equipment - assist in videoimaging experiments - prepare the RNA extraction and purification protocol - RT-PCR - western blotting analysis
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Knowledge of cellular biology.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Exp Gerontol. 2005 Mar;40(3):189-97
- Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Apr 29;473(2):462-70.