Human Muscle Cells Launched Into Space

An experiment studying how muscle cells age in low-gravity environments began with a SpaceX rocket launch.

What to know:

  • A rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday containing lab-grown human muscle cells packed into 3D-printed holders about the size of a small pencil sharpener.

  • Astronauts experience muscle loss in low-gravity environments, and the MicroAge study from the University of Liverpool will monitor loss of mass to the muscle cells in the microgravity of the International Space Station.

  • When they reach the station, the cells will be electrically stimulated to induce contractions in the tissue, and how they respond will be tracked over time. The cells will then be frozen to be brought back to Earth for further analysis.

  • The researchers are hopeful that monitoring muscle loss in the cells will shed light on how the aging process affects muscles and bones, helping to develop treatments for musculoskeletal diseases and combat degeneration over time.

This is a summary of the article, “MicroAge: University of Liverpool Launch Human Muscle Cells Into Space to Explore Secrets of Ageing,” published by ITV on December 21. The full article can be found on itv.com.

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