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Mutat Res. 1999 Dec 6;430(2):271-4.

Accumulation of a tumor suppressor p53 protein in rat muscle during a space flight.

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Department of Biology, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho Kashihara-shi, Nara, Japan.


We previously reported that the space environment consisting of microgravity and space radiation induced an increased level of p53 protein, a tumor suppressor gene product, in rat skin. Here, we report the increase of p53 protein in the muscles of rats that traveled into space. Rats were divided into three groups. The first group remained on earth (VC), and did not show any change in p53 protein level. The second group made a 14-day flight into space on the Second Spacelab Life Science (SLS-2) Mission (F). The third group was experimentally subjected to the same kinds of stress as those in the second group without making a space flight (SC). F and SC rats were sacrificed on day zero (F-0, SC-0) and day nine (F-9, SC-9) after return from space. F-0 rats showed a 1.5-fold increase in p53 protein level compared with that of SC-0 rats, whereas, F-9 rats showed a 1.35-fold increase in p53 protein compared with that of SC-9 rats. These results suggest that the accumulation of cellular p53 protein induced by space environments occurs not only in rat skin cells, but also in rat muscle cells.

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