Task Spaceflight effects on the mouse retina: Histological, gene expression and epigenetic changes after flight on STS-135 (Completed)
Last Published:  04/20/22 11:43:24 AM (Central)
Short Title: Spaceflight - Retina
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):
This task will pursue the following aims: Specific Aim 1 will perform histological and gene expression analysis of retinas collected from C57BL/6 mice flown in STS-135 (and from their ground control counterparts) and compare these results to similar analyses performed on BALB mice from STS-133. Histological and gene expression outcomes will be focused on cellular stress, oxidative stress, DNA damage and cellular death and survival, but will also investigate genome-wide changes by expression microarray analysis. Specific Aim 2 will investigate whether retinal gene expression differences between STS135-flown mice and their gound counterparts may have an epigenetic basis, by analyzing DNA methylation in specific target genes. Using the same methodological approach. Specific Aim 3 plans to address a question related to the risk of circadian disruption. This aim will interrogate whether the expression of the non-visual photorreceptor "melanopsin", which is a major protein responsible for light-entrainment, remains intact during spaceflight (under the combined influence of space environmental factors as described above). Under this objective, we will compare the expression of melanopsin (Opsn4) in intrinsically photorreceptive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC) in mouse retinas after spaceflight and in their ground controls, in both BALB (flight STS133) and CB57Bl/6 mice (flight STS135). Demonstrating that melanopsin expression remains unaffected by spaceflight is of high importance as additional evidence to support blue light as a countermeasure to prevent and mitigate circadian disruption in spaceflight crews.
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