Scientists have reported mighty mice that have bulked-up and hold onto muscle during their time at the International Space Station where they spent a month. Upon their return to earth, the findings reveal the promise of muscle and bone loss prevention in astronauts while on a space trip such as to Mars and people on earth that are confined to wheelchairs or bed.
The research was led by Dr. Se-Jin Lee at Jackson Laboratory which involved 40 female black mice being sent to the space station abroad the Space X Rocket. The paper was published in the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) in which it was stated 24 untreated mice experienced a significant loss of bone mass and muscle due to weightlessness by around 18 percent.
However, the eight mice that had been genetically engineered ended up with double the muscle mass. Thus, it appeared that their muscles were comparable to the mighty mice that spent time at the Kennedy Space Center.
There were eight normal mice that had undergone the might mice treatment in space and when they returned to earth, they had bigger muscles. The treatment is quite simple as it aims to limit muscle mass by blocking a pair of proteins. On the other hand, a Space X capsule kept 40 mice in good condition which parachuted on to the coast of California. A few of the ordinary mice received an injection of the mighty mice drug which led to them quickly building up more muscle mass as compared to their untreated counterparts.
Dr. Se-Jin Lee posted a picture in August 2020 which revealed a normal mouse next to a twice-muscled mouse in Farmington at the Jackson Laboratory of the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine. The findings that were published on September 7th, 2020 show that the difference between the muscle-bound mice as compared to the mice before they went on a space mission for a month. The experiment was completed by the scientists just before the coronavirus hit the United States.
Although the research team led by Dr. Se-Jin Lee is encouraged by the findings, there is room for much more work before a drug can be tested on people such as its impact on genes and if it has any side effects that should be considered. It will take time to go from mouse studies to human studies.