Short-term weightlessness produced by parabolic flight maneuvers altered gene expression patterns in human endothelial cells


  • J. Grosse
  • M. Wehland
  • J. Pietsch
  • X. Ma
  • C. Ulbrich
  • H. Schulz
  • K. Saar
  • N. Huebner
  • J. Hauslage
  • R. Hemmersbach
  • M. Braun
  • J. van Loon
  • N. Vagt
  • M. Infanger
  • C. Eilles
  • M. Egli
  • P. Richter
  • T. Baltz
  • R. Einspanier
  • S. Sharbati
  • D. Grimm


  • FASEB Journal


  • FASEB J 26 (2): 639-655


  • This study focused on the effects of short-term microgravity (22 s) on the gene expression and morphology of endothelial cells (ECs) and evaluated gravisensitive signaling elements. ECs were investigated during four German Space Agency (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt) parabolic flight campaigns. Hoechst 33342 and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining showed no signs of cell death in ECs after 31 parabolas (P31). Gene array analysis revealed 320 significantly regulated genes after the first parabola (P1) and P31. COL4A5, COL8A1, ITGA6, ITGA10, and ITGB3 mRNAs were down-regulated after P1. EDN1 and TNFRSF12A mRNAs were up-regulated. ADAM19, CARD8, CD40, GSN, PRKCA (all down-regulated after P1), and PRKAA1 (AMPKα1) mRNAs (up-regulated) provide a very early protective mechanism of cell survival induced by 22 s microgravity. The ABL2 gene was significantly up-regulated after P1 and P31, TUBB was slightly induced, but ACTA2 and VIM mRNAs were not changed. {beta}-Tubulin immunofluorescence revealed a cytoplasmic rearrangement. Vibration had no effect. Hypergravity reduced CARD8, NOS3, VASH1, SERPINH1 (all P1), CAV2, ADAM19, TNFRSF12A, CD40, and ITGA6 (P31) mRNAs. These data suggest that microgravity alters the gene expression patterns and the cytoskeleton of ECs very early. Several gravisensitive signaling elements, such as AMPK{alpha}1 and integrins, are involved in the reaction of ECs to altered gravity.