Gravitational effects on fibroblasts’ function in relation to wound healing

Eline Radstake, Kiran Gautam, Silvana Ferreira da Silva Miranda, Cynthia Van Rompay, Randy Vermeesen, Kevin Tabury, Mieke Verslegers, Alan Dowson, Alan Dowson, Jeffrey Gorissen, Jack J.W.A. van Loon, Nigel D.L. Savage, Sarah Baatout, Bjorn Baselet

Research outputpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The spaceflight environment imposes risks for maintaining a healthy skin function as the observed delayed wound healing can contribute to increased risks of infection. To counteract delayed wound healing in space, a better understanding of the fibroblasts’ reaction to altered gravity levels is needed. In this paper, we describe experiments that were carried out at the Large Diameter Centrifuge located in ESA-ESTEC as part of the ESA Academy 2021 Spin Your Thesis! Campaign. We exposed dermal fibroblasts to a set of altered gravity levels, including transitions between simulated microgravity and hypergravity. The addition of the stress hormone cortisol to the cell culture medium was done to account for possible interaction effects of gravity and cortisol exposure. Results show a main impact of cortisol on the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as extracellular matrix proteins. Altered gravity mostly induced a delay in cellular migration and changes in mechanosensitive cell structures. Furthermore, 20 × g hypergravity transitions induced changes in nuclear morphology. These findings provide insights into the effect of gravity transitions on the fibroblasts’ function related to wound healing, which may be useful for the development of countermeasures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Number of pages11
Journalnpj Microgravity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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