ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


HYPERGRAVITY   STIMULATES  OSTEOBLAST   PROLIFERATION   VIA MATRIX-INTEGRIN-SIGNALING PATHWAYS  W. Vercoutere1,3, M. Parra1,3, C. Roden1,3, M. DaCosta1,3, A. Wing1,3, C. Damsky2, E. Holton3, N. Searby3, R. Globus1,2, E. Almeida1,2  1NASA Ames Research Center, 2UCSF, 3National Space Grant Foundation.

   Extensive characterizations of the physiologic consequences of microgravity and gravity indicate that lack of weight-bearing may cause tissue atrophy through cellular and subcellular level mechanisms.  We hypothesize that gravity is needed for the efficient transduction of cell growth and survival signals from the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) in mechanosensitive tissues. Recent work from our laboratory and from others shows that an increase of gravity increases bone cell growth and survival. We found that 50-g hypergravity stimulation increased osteoblast proliferation for cells grown on Collagen Type I and Fibronectin, but not on Laminin or uncoated plastic.  This may be a tissue-specific response, because 50-g hypergravity stimulation caused no increase in proliferation for primary rat fibroblasts.  These results combined with RT-PCR for all possible integrins indicate that beta1 integrin subunit may be involved.  The osteoblast proliferation response on Collagen Type I was greater at 25-g than at 10-g or 50-g; 24-h duration of hypergravity was necessary to see an increase in proliferation.  Survival was enhanced during hypergravity stimulation by the presence of matrix.  Flow cytometry analysis indicated that cell cycle may be altered; BrdU incorporation in proliferating cells showed an increase in the number of actively dividing cells from about 60% at 1-g to over 90% at 25-g.  To further investigate the molecular components involved, we applied fluorescence labeling of cytoskeletal and signaling molecules to cells after 2 to 30 minutes of hypergravity stimulation. While structural components did not appear to be altered, phosphorylation increased, indicating that signaling pathways may be activated.  These data indicate that gravity mechanostimulation of osteoblast proliferation involves specific matrix-integrin signaling pathways which are sensitive to duration and g-level.

(Supported by NASA 00-OBPR-01-066)


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