Change in cell motility and metabolism following culture under low shear conditions
Lennon, Sean Patrick
Master of Science
Recent studies suggest that the human immune system, and in particular lymphocyte function, may be suppressed during space flight. However, the mechanisms by which mechanical forces affect the function of immune cells are still poorly understood. Research performed in our laboratory indicates that culturing lymphocytes under low shear conditions (in rotating wall vessels) leads to an increase in cell motility and altered cell morphology. We have hypothesized that fundamental changes in the cytoskeleton, caused by changes in external forces, could lead to secondary changes in cellular metabolism, which could in turn be reflected by altered membrane structure. Utilizing NMR to investigate changes in lymphocyte function in an altered mechanical environment, we observed significant changes in cell metabolism following cell culture in the RWV, as compared to cells cultured statically. Our research seeks to advance the understanding of how microgravity affects the function of individual cells and how these cells interact with their environment.
Cellular biology; Biomedical research; Chemical engineering; Applied sciences; Biological sciences