Scientists reported on Monday that the bulked-up, mutant “powerful mice” were holding their muscles during a one-month stay at the International Space Station.
The findings promise to prevent muscle and bone loss in astronauts on long-term space voyages such as Mars missions, as well as those on Earth that are confined to beds or wheelchairs.
Dr. of Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut. In December, a research team led by Si-Jin Lee sent 40 young female black mice to the space station aboard a SpaceX rocket.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lee stated that 24 routinely untreated mice lost muscle and bone mass in weightlessness, as expected – by 18%.
But the eight genetically “powerful rats” launched with muscle doubling retained their bulk. His muscles appear to be similar to those of “powerful mice” who stayed behind at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
In addition, eight normal mice receiving “powerful mouse” treatment in space returned to Earth with dramatically larger muscles. Treatment involves blocking a pair of proteins that typically limit muscles.
A SpaceX capsule returned all 40 mice in good condition, parachuting into the Pacific off the California coast in January. Lee said that after returning some normal mice were injected with the drug of “strong mice” and quickly built more muscle.
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“The only silver lining of COVID is that we had time to write it very intimately and submit the results for publication,” said Dr. Emily Jermaine-Lee of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Lee’s wife also participated in the study. Both are affiliated with the University of Connecticut.
Encouraged by their findings, the couple stated that people need to do a lot more work before testing the drug for muscle and bone building, without serious effects.
“We are away. But this is what happens when you go from mouse to human study, ”said Jermaine-Lee.
Lee said the experiment deserved an investigation into other molecules and signaling pathways – “the embarrassment of money … so many things that we want to move forward.” Their next step: possibly sending “powerful mice” to stay longer on the space station.
Three NASA astronauts took care of space mice, performing body scans and injections: Christina Koch and Jessica Mir, who performed the final all-female spacewalk, and Andrew Morgan. He is listed as a co-author.