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空間細胞研究

時間:2017-12-26  來源: 文本大小:【 |  | 】  【打印

國際空間站最新研究致力于開發骨質疏松癥、眼疾和肌肉萎縮的新療法。歐洲哥倫布艙內進行著四個生物實驗,研究微重力環境對肌肉、視網膜和干細胞的影響,開發藥物與其他對策。歐洲航天局航天員Paolo Nespoli將預裝的細胞樣品放到溫控器中,7天后在返回地球前冷凍樣品。目前,研究人員正在對樣品進行分析。

研究人員通過兩種方法研究肌肉細胞,一種是對比Polo飛行前后的腿部肌肉細胞樣本,一種是采用Kubik裝置進行實驗。針對Kubik裝置中的肌肉細胞樣本,研究人員關注特定蛋白質的細胞釋放。針對視網膜細胞,研究人員用輔酶Q10來處理部分細胞,看看能量生成化合物是否能抵消輻射和微重力的影響。此外,研究人員還觀察干細胞是否能抵抗微重力引起的骨質流失,具有抗氧化特性的納米顆粒是否有助于處理細胞受到壓力時所發生的過量氧化。

Cells in Space

Laboratories on Earth hardly make the news, unless they come up with life-saving cures. So why would anyone care about a lab in space? The medicine you take on Earth begins with cell research, and the latest experiments on the International Space Station are helping to develop new treatments for osteoporosis, eye diseases and muscle atrophy.  

On a biological mission

Four biological experiments conducted in Europe’s Columbus module on the Station are looking into how microgravity wears down muscle, retinal and stem cells to develop medicine and other countermeasures. 

Thanks to the Kubik hardware, the experiment was relatively easy to perform. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli loaded prepacked cell samples into the temperature-controlled incubator. After seven days, Paolo froze the samples ahead of their return to Earth on a cargo craft. Researchers are now analysing the samples.  

A closer look at Kubik

Across the four experiments, conducted on behalf of Italy’s ASI space agency, the overarching goal was to understand how to prevent cell death. Diseases occur when our cells can no longer cope with toxins and other stresses and eventually break down. Finding a solution means first understanding the full scale of the problem.  

Researchers are studying muscle cells in two ways. A preflight biopsy of Paolo’s leg muscles will be compared to a sample upon his return to Earth. For the muscle cell samples in Kubik, researchers zeroed in on specific proteins the cells release to understand if they could play a role in combating cell damage.  

For the retinal cells, researchers treated a portion of the cells with “Q10 coenzyme” to see if the energy-generating compound would counteract the effects of radiation and microgravity.

Stem cells were also included to understand how they behave and whether they could be used to counteract microgravity-induced bone loss.

The last of the experiments studied whether nanoparticles, which have antioxidant properties, could help cells to handle the excess oxidation that occurs when the cell is stressed. 

While muscle atrophy, osteoporosis and vision problems may not be on the minds of the vast majority of Earth dwellers, it’s this type of research that makes it possible to develop better drugs and other measures for these problems.

Added to that, we humans have set a spacefaring goal for ourselves that demands we ensure our health out in space. 

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