ESA title
Space Omics and Tissue Response in Astronaut Skeletal Muscle after Short and Long Duration Missions - SciSpacE

Space Omics and Tissue Response in Astronaut Skeletal Muscle after Short and Long Duration Missions

The molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle adaptation to spaceflight are as yet not fully investigated and well understood. The MUSCLE BIOPSY study analyzed pre and postflight deep calf muscle biopsies (m. soleus) obtained from five male International Space Station (ISS) astronauts. Moderate rates of myofiber atrophy were found in long-duration mission (LDM) astronauts (~180 days in space) performing routine inflight exercise as countermeasure (CM) compared to a short-duration mission (SDM) astronaut (11 days in space, little or no inflight CM) for reference control.

Conventional H&E scout histology showed enlarged intramuscular connective tissue gaps between myofiber groups in LDM post vs. preflight. Immunoexpression signals of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules, collagen 4 and 6, COL4 and 6, and perlecan were reduced while matrix-metalloproteinase, MMP2, biomarker remained unchanged in LDM post vs. preflight suggesting connective tissue remodeling. Large scale proteomics (space omics) identified two canonical protein pathways associated to muscle weakness (necroptosis, GP6 signaling/COL6) in SDM and four key pathways (Fatty acid β-oxidation, integrin-linked kinase ILK, Rho A GTPase RHO, dilated cardiomyopathy signaling) explicitly in LDM. The levels of structural ECM organization proteins COL6A1/A3, fibrillin 1, FBN1, and lumican, LUM, increased in postflight SDM vs. LDM. Proteins from tricarboxylic acid, TCA cycle, mitochondrial respiratory chain, and lipid metabolism mostly recovered in LDM vs. SDM.

High levels of calcium signaling proteins, ryanodine receptor 1, RyR1, calsequestrin 1/2, CASQ1/2, annexin A2, ANXA2, and sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA1) pump, ATP2A, were signatures of SDM, and decreased levels of oxidative stress peroxiredoxin 1, PRDX1, thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase, PRDX3, or superoxide dismutase “Mn” 2, SOD2, signatures of LDM postflight. Results help to better understand the spatiotemporal molecular adaptation of skeletal muscle and provide a large scale database of skeletal muscle from human spaceflight for the better design of effective CM protocols in future human deep space exploration.