Washington, DC, United States

Cells from kidneys lose some of their special features in conventional culture but form spheres replete with specialized cell microvilli (hair) and synthesize hormones that may be clinically useful. Ground-based research studies have demonstrated that both normal and neoplastic cells and tissues recreate many of the characteristics in the NASA bioreactor that they display in vivo. Proximal kidney tubule cells that normally have rich apically oriented microvilli with intercellular clefts in the kidney do not form any of these structures in conventional two-dimensional monolayer culture. However, when normal proximal renal tubule cells are cultured in three-dimensions in the bioreactor, both the microvilli and the intercellular clefts form. This is important because, when the morphology is recreated, the function is more likely also to be rejuvenated. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC).


  • Title: Microgravity
  • Date Created: 1998-01-01
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1

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