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J Biotechnol. 1996 Jun 27;47(2-3):313-24.

Microgravity induces prostaglandin E2 and interleukin-6 production in normal rat osteoblasts: role in bone demineralization.

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Faculty of Dentistry, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


It has been suggested that microgravity alters bone metabolism. Evidence for this phenomenon includes the negative calcium balance and decreased bone density in astronauts, as well as, inhibition of bone formation in rats flown for 2 to 3 weeks. However, the specific mechanisms that modulate these changes in microgravity are unknown. The purpose of this study was to clarify the mechanism of microgravity-induced bone demineralization using normal rat osteoblasts obtained from femur marrow cultures. The osteoblasts were cultured for 5 days during a Shuttle-Spacelab flight (STS-65). After collection of the culture medium, the cellular DNA and RNA were fixed on board. Enzyme-immunoassay of the culture medium for prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) indicated that microgravity induced a 4.5- to 136-fold increase in flight samples as compared to the ground control cultures. This increase of PGE2 production was consistent with a 3.3- to 9.5-fold elevation of inducible prostaglandin G/H synthase-2 (PGHS-2) mRNA, quantitated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The mRNA induction for the constitutive isozyme PGHS-1 was less than that for PGHS-2. The interleukin-6 (IL-6) mRNA was also increased (6.4- to 9.3-fold) in microgravity as compared to the ground controls. Since PGE2 and IL-6 are both known to play a role in osteoclast formation and bone resorption, these data provide molecular mechanisms that contribute to our understanding of microgravity-induced alterations in the bone resorption process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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