Development of new experimental platform 'MARS'-Multiple Artificial-gravity Research System-to elucidate the impacts of micro/partial gravity on mice

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 7;7(1):10837. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10998-4.


This Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency project focused on elucidating the impacts of partial gravity (partial g) and microgravity (μg) on mice using newly developed mouse habitat cage units (HCU) that can be installed in the Centrifuge-equipped Biological Experiment Facility in the International Space Station. In the first mission, 12 C57BL/6 J male mice were housed under μg or artificial earth-gravity (1 g). Mouse activity was monitored daily via downlinked videos; μg mice floated inside the HCU, whereas artificial 1 g mice were on their feet on the floor. After 35 days of habitation, all mice were returned to the Earth and processed. Significant decreases were evident in femur bone density and the soleus/gastrocnemius muscle weights of μg mice, whereas artificial 1 g mice maintained the same bone density and muscle weight as mice in the ground control experiment, in which housing conditions in the flight experiment were replicated. These data indicate that these changes were particularly because of gravity. They also present the first evidence that the addition of gravity can prevent decreases in bone density and muscle mass, and that the new platform 'MARS' may provide novel insights on the molecular-mechanisms regulating biological processes controlled by partial g/μg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Environment
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Space Flight*
  • Weightlessness*