In vitro effects of simulated microgravity on Sertoli cell function

M.A. Masini, P. Prato, L. Scarabelli, C. Lanza, S. Palmero, G. Pointis, F. Ricci, F. Strollo

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With the advent of space flights questions concerning the effects of microgravity (0×G) on human reproductive physiology have received great attention. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of 0×G on Sertoli cells. A Sertoli cell line from mouse testis (42GPA9) was analyzed for cytoskeletal and Sex Hormone Binding Globilin (SHBG) changes by immunohistochemistry, for antioxidant content by RT-PCR and for culture medium lactate concentrations by protein chemistry. Cells were cultured for 6, 24 and 48 h on a three-dimensional Random Positioning Machine (3D-RPM); static controls (1×G) were positioned on the supporting frame. At the end of each experiment, cultured cells were either fixed in paraformaldehyde or lysed and RNA-extracted or used for culture medium lactate measurements as needed. At 0×G, Sertoli cytoskeleton became disorganized, microtubules fragmented and SHBG undetectable already after 24 h, with alterations worsening by 48 h. It was evident that various antioxidant systems appreciably increased during the first 24 h but significantly decreased at 48 h. No changes occurred in the 1×G samples. Initially, 0×G seemed to disturb antioxidant protection strategies allowing the testes to support sperm production, thus generating an aging-like state of oxidative stress. Lactate production at 0×G slightly decreased after 24 h. Further experiments are needed in space to investigate upon steroidogenesis and germ cell differentiation within the testis, to rule out male infertility as a possible consequence, which could be a problem, as life expectancy increases. © 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575 - 581
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Masini, M. A., Prato, P., Scarabelli, L., Lanza, C., Palmero, S., Pointis, G., ... Strollo, F. (2011). In vitro effects of simulated microgravity on Sertoli cell function. Advances in Space Research, 47(4), 575 - 581.