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Factors implicating the validity and interpretation of simulated microgravity studies
  • Christine Poon
Christine Poon
University of Technology Sydney, University of Technology Sydney
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Abstract

Simulated microgravity (s-µg) devices provide unique conditions for elucidating the effects of gravitational unloading on biological processes. However, s-µg devices are being increasingly applied for mechanobiology studies without proper characterization of the mechanical environment generated by these systems, which confounds results and limits their interpretation. Furthermore, the cell culture methodology central to s-µg approaches introduces new conditions that can fundamentally affect results, but these are currently not addressed. It is essential to understand the complete culture environment and how constituent conditions can individually and synergistically affect cellular responses in order to interpret results correctly, otherwise outcomes may be misattributed to the effects of microgravity alone. For the benefit of the growing space biology community, this article critically reviews a typical s-µg cell culture environment in terms of three key conditions: fluid-mediated mechanical stimuli, oxygen tension and biochemical (cell signalling). Their implications for biological analysis are categorically discussed. A new set of controls is proposed to properly evaluate the respective effects of s-µg culture conditions, along with a reporting matrix and potential strategies for addressing the current limitations of simulated microgravity devices as a platform for mechanobiology.

Peer review status:Published

30 Jan 2020Submitted to Engineering Reports
31 Jan 2020Submission Checks Completed
31 Jan 2020Assigned to Editor
18 Feb 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
09 Mar 2020Editorial Decision: Reject & Resub
05 May 20201st Revision Received
05 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
05 May 2020Assigned to Editor
05 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
15 Jun 20202nd Revision Received
16 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
16 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
21 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
23 Jun 20203rd Revision Received
23 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
23 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
23 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
11 Sep 2020Published in Engineering Reports on pages e12242. 10.1002/eng2.12242