Gravitational Cell Biology

Johannes Boonstra, Silvia Bradamante, Alain C. Colige, Ruth Hemmersbach, Charles A. Lambert, Natalie Leys, Jack J. W.A. van Loon, Betty V. Nusgens, Felice Mastroleo

    Research outputpeer-review


    signals, including gravity. An important goal is to disclose key pathways that might represent potential targets for pharmacological intervention to prevent microgravity-related health alterations as well as mechano-dependent diseases on Earth such as age-related osteoporosis. Conceptually the effect of gravity on single cells is expected to be limited. Based upon a theoretical comparison of various forces within the cell it has been predicted very unlikely that non-specialized cells would display a response to changes in gravity. However, at the same time numerous studies in space and on Earth have shown that in vitro cells do behave differently under conditions of modified gravity as compared to 1xg controls. Gravity may act on single cells directly via mass displacements of specific intracellular components or of the whole cell volume. In addition, gravity may also act on cells indirectly by changed fluid dynamics via Rayleigh or density-driven convection of the surrounding media. In this chapter we describe briefly the current status of the research performed, in a European context, on the effects of gravity on eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLaboratory Science with Space Data
    Place of PublicationHeidelberg, Germany
    ISBN (Print)978-3-642-21143-0
    StatePublished - Dec 2011

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