Is HSP70 upregulation crucial for cellular proliferative response in simulated microgravity?

J Gravit Physiol. 2004 Jul;11(2):P173-6.


Astronauts are susceptible to a variety of conditions such as motion sickness, muscular atrophy, bone demineralization and cardiovascular deconditioning. These findings suggest that the adaptation to the absence of gravity is due, at least in part, to the effects exerted by microgravity at the cellular level. Indeed, a number of studies have indicated that gravity affects mammalian cell growth and differentiation through the modulation of gene expression. We have characterized the behaviour of endothelial cells and of the human monocytic cell line U937 cultured in the NASA-developed bioreactor to simulate microgravity, the Rotating Wall Vessels (RWV). In simulated microgravity endothelial cells showed a different behavior which was dependent from the species and from the district of origin, while U937 in the RWV proliferated slower than the controls. All the effects we observed were promptly reversible upon return to normal culture conditions. It is noteworthy that all the cells which maintained the capability to proliferate in microgravity upregulated the stress protein HSP70. We therefore propose that only the cells which sense microgravity as a stressful condition and, consequently, overexpress HSP70 maintain their proliferative potential in simulated microgravity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / cytology
  • Aorta / ultrastructure
  • Bioreactors
  • Cattle
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Gravitation
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • U937 Cells / cytology
  • U937 Cells / metabolism
  • Weightlessness Simulation*


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins