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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Spaceflight has compartment- and gene-specific effects on mRNA levels for bone matrix proteins in rat femur.

In the present study, we evaluated the possibility that the abnormal bone matrix produced during spaceflight may be associated with reduced expression of bone matrix protein genes. To test this possibility, we investigated the effects of a 14-day spaceflight (SLS-2 experiment) on steady-state mRNA levels for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase ( GAPDH), osteocalcin, osteonectin, and prepro-alpha(1) subunit of type I collagen in the major bone compartments of rat femur. There were pronounced site-specific differences in the steady-state levels of expression of the mRNAs for the three bone matrix proteins and GAPDH in normal weight-bearing rats, and these relationships were altered after spaceflight. Specifically, spaceflight resulted in decreases in mRNA levels for GAPDH (decreased in proximal metaphysis), osteocalcin (decreased in proximal metaphysis), osteonectin (decreased in proximal and distal metaphysis), and collagen (decreased in proximal and distal metaphysis) compared with ground controls. There were no changes in mRNA levels for matrix proteins or GAPDH in the shaft and distal epiphysis. These results demonstrate that spaceflight leads to site- and gene-specific decreases in mRNA levels for bone matrix proteins. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that spaceflight-induced decreases in bone formation are caused by concomitant decreases in expression of genes for bone matrix proteins.[1]


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