Project Title

The Effects of Simulated Space Flight on Ovarian Tissue

Authors' Affiliations

Kaylyn Cavin, Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Dr. Allan Forsman, Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

17

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Health Sciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Allan Forsman

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Anatomy, Histology, Reproductive System

Abstract Text

While many studies have shown harmful effects of space flight on many tissues and systems of the human body, few studies have been done on the effects of space flight on the reproductive system. While the microgravity conditions of space flight are common knowledge, there is another component of space flight, that being higher than ambient (on Earth) levels of radiation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of simulated space flight on follicular development in the ovaries of mice, and to determine which component of spaceflight, i.e. microgravity, radiation, or a combination of the two, might be responsible for any changes in this follicular development. To simulate the environment of space, mice were exposed to higher levels of radiation by the use of cobalt plates and to simulated microgravity using a technique known as hind limb unloading. Four groups of mice-were used in this study; a control or untreated group, a group exposed to higher levels of radiation, a group exposed to simulated microgravity, and a group treated in both high radiation and simulated microgravity. The mice were further subdivided within these groups based on the amount of time they were kept alive after treatment/exposure (one, four, and nine months). The ovarian tissues were then analyzed to see the effects of these simulated conditions on the development of follicles. In all three treatment groups, development of follicles was restricted compared to the control group. Follicles from the various treatment groups appeared to be in the early stages of their development. It should be noted that these are preliminary results as the study is still in progress. One of the overarching questions that has been put forth by NASA over the last few decades is, can an organism, in this case a mammalian organism, complete an entire life cycle in space? This study may help to answer some of that question. If any of the components of space flight proves to be harmful to the female reproductive tissues human colonization of space would be problematic. If the damage incurred during space flight is irreversible, colonization of other worlds would also be problematic.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

The Effects of Simulated Space Flight on Ovarian Tissue

Ballroom

While many studies have shown harmful effects of space flight on many tissues and systems of the human body, few studies have been done on the effects of space flight on the reproductive system. While the microgravity conditions of space flight are common knowledge, there is another component of space flight, that being higher than ambient (on Earth) levels of radiation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of simulated space flight on follicular development in the ovaries of mice, and to determine which component of spaceflight, i.e. microgravity, radiation, or a combination of the two, might be responsible for any changes in this follicular development. To simulate the environment of space, mice were exposed to higher levels of radiation by the use of cobalt plates and to simulated microgravity using a technique known as hind limb unloading. Four groups of mice-were used in this study; a control or untreated group, a group exposed to higher levels of radiation, a group exposed to simulated microgravity, and a group treated in both high radiation and simulated microgravity. The mice were further subdivided within these groups based on the amount of time they were kept alive after treatment/exposure (one, four, and nine months). The ovarian tissues were then analyzed to see the effects of these simulated conditions on the development of follicles. In all three treatment groups, development of follicles was restricted compared to the control group. Follicles from the various treatment groups appeared to be in the early stages of their development. It should be noted that these are preliminary results as the study is still in progress. One of the overarching questions that has been put forth by NASA over the last few decades is, can an organism, in this case a mammalian organism, complete an entire life cycle in space? This study may help to answer some of that question. If any of the components of space flight proves to be harmful to the female reproductive tissues human colonization of space would be problematic. If the damage incurred during space flight is irreversible, colonization of other worlds would also be problematic.