Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Allan D. Forsman

Thesis Professor Department

Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

C. Laraine Powers, Michele L. Crumley


The effects of the microgravity of spaceflight are largely unexplored with regard to biological tissues. One particular area of interest is the possible effects microgravity could have on the production of mucins. To determine the possible effects of microgravity on mucin production in the urinary bladder, we examined the transitional epithelium of the urinary bladder from female mice that were flown on the space shuttle Endeavour for 12 days in August, 2007. The flight tissue was compared to tissues from two control groups of animals, ground control and baseline. This study utilized three sets of female mice, with each set consisting of 12 animals. The three sets were designated as Flight, Ground Control, and Baseline. The flight animals were flown in the Commercial Biomedical Testing Module-2 (CBMT-2) which was housed in the shuttle’s mid-deck locker area. Ground control animals were also housed in CBTM-2 units which were kept in environmentally controlled rooms at the Space Life Sciences Lab at Kennedy Space Center. Baseline animals were also housed at the Space Life Sciences Lab but were housed in standard rodent cages with ambient temperature and humidity, with a 12/12 light dark cycle. Bladder tissue was paraffin embedded, sectioned, mounted, and histologically stained using an Alcian Blue Periodic Acid Schiff staining procedure. The bladder tissue from the three treatment groups is being qualitatively analyzed for mucin thickness and types of mucins produced. To date the study indicates that the mucin layer of the Flight tissue is thinner than that of the Baseline or Ground Control tissue, but only significantly thinner than the Baseline tissue.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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