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Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 24;9(1):13733. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50128-w.

Male mice, caged in the International Space Station for 35 days, sire healthy offspring.

Matsumura T1,2,3, Noda T1, Muratani M4,5, Okada R6, Yamane M1,7, Isotani A1,8, Kudo T5,9, Takahashi S5,9, Ikawa M10,11,12,13.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Genome Research, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.
2
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, 1-6 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.
3
Laboratory of Biopharmaceutical and Regenerative Sciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Life Science, Yokohama City University Association of Medical Science, 3-9 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 236-0004, Japan.
4
Department of Genome Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8575, Japan.
5
Mouse Epigenetics Project, ISS/Kibo experiment, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
6
JEM Utilization Center, Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba Space Center, 2-1-1 Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8505, Japan.
7
Center for Animal Research and Education, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, 464-8601, Japan.
8
Graduate School of Science and Technology, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma, Nara, 630-0192, Japan.
9
Laboratory Animal Resource Center in Transborder Medical Research Center, and Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8575, Japan.
10
Department of Experimental Genome Research, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan. ikawa@biken.osaka-u.ac.jp.
11
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, 1-6 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan. ikawa@biken.osaka-u.ac.jp.
12
Mouse Epigenetics Project, ISS/Kibo experiment, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. ikawa@biken.osaka-u.ac.jp.
13
Laboratory of Reproductive Systems Biology, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8639, Japan. ikawa@biken.osaka-u.ac.jp.

Abstract

The effect on the reproductive system and fertility of living in a space environment remains unclear. Here, we caged 12 male mice under artificial gravity (≈1 gravity) (AG) or microgravity (MG) in the International Space Station (ISS) for 35 days, and characterized the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymides, and accessory glands) after their return to earth. Mice caged on earth during the 35 days served as a "ground" control (GC). Only a decrease in accessory gland weight was detected in AG and MG males; however, none of the reproductive organs showed any overt microscopic defects or changes in gene expression as determined by RNA-seq. The cauda epididymal spermatozoa from AG and MG mice could fertilize oocytes in vitro at comparable levels as GC males. When the fertilized eggs were transferred into pseudo-pregnant females, there was no significant difference in pups delivered (pups/transferred eggs) among GC, AG, and MG spermatozoa. In addition, the growth rates and fecundity of the obtained pups were comparable among all groups. We conclude that short-term stays in outer space do not cause overt defects in the physiological function of male reproductive organs, sperm function, and offspring viability.

PMID:
31551430
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-019-50128-w
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