Mice flown into space by JAXA, SpaceX, researchers point to protein...

Mice flown into space by JAXA, SpaceX, researchers point to protein...
Mice flown into space by JAXA, SpaceX, researchers point to protein...

FP-TrendNov 05, 2020 13:34:16 PM

The Japanese space agency had sent a group of mice into space to learn about the effects of space on their bodies in order to monitor and control these changes. Traveling in space is known to induce change in humans – much like fast-forwarding what happens to humans during the natural aging process. The results of the experiment can provide answers in the field of antiaging or slowing down the effects of aging.

The team tested the effect of induction of the protein NRF2 in the mice. During half of the twelve Mice sent to the International Space Station in 2018 If the nuclear factor had erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), the other six were genetically engineered so that they did not have the same Nrf2 gene. The protein made from this gene regulates adaptive responses to various environmental stresses. It is also known to prevent various diseases such as cancer and diabetic complications.

Representative picture. Tech2

In the study conducted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with Tohoku University, the mice were sent into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon rocket, after which they spent 31 days in space. During the space flight, all mice were treated identically and fed the same diet. However, upon return, the scientists found that the mice that did not have Nrf2 experienced some changes in their blood components that can be compared to the changes humans go through as they age. All mice were healthy before the trip, but the mice without protein stopped gaining weight in space.

Astronauts who are in space all the time, but certainly months in a row, risk exposure to harmful radiation, increasing the risk of cancer and damage to the central nervous system. This is similar to some of the processes involved in aging, the main difference being in the speed of these changes. Experts believe Nrf2 has the answer to shield the dangers of space and aging.

Masayuki Yamamoto, Professor of Medical Biochemistry at Tohoku University, told Kyodo news, “The results highlight the importance of the role Nrf2 plays in cushioning the effects of stress from space.”

The study was published in the journal Communication Biology in September.

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