Futurity

Twin astronauts show how mitochondria handle space

Astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days in space. His twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. Here's how their mitochondria compare.
astronauts Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly stand face to face

Mitochondria, the body’s “cellular powerhouse” are remarkably resilient to the stress of space, according to the NASA Twins Study.

From March 2014 to March 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days on the International Space Station while his identical twin, former astronaut Mark Kelly, remained on Earth as part of a NASA and Russian Federal Space Agency study on the health effects of long-term space flight.

“In short, mitochondria are resilient to the blood-borne signals of space stress.”

Jamila Siamwala, an assistant professor (research) in Brown University’s molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology department, led a small part of the massive, integrated Twins Study when she was a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Diego.

Siamwala, who is also affiliated with the Vascular Research Laboratory at Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, studied mitochondrial physiology, or how the “cellular powerhouse,” which produces the vast majority of chemical energy used by cells, functioned and responded to chemical signals of stress present in blood samples from the twins.

Her findings, which appear in Science, show that the chemical markers of microgravity stress did not affect mitochondrial function in muscle cells, though non-mitochondrial respiration was somewhat reduced in Scott, the space twin, compared to Mark Kelly.

Here, she shares insights on the study and her work.

The post Twin astronauts show how mitochondria handle space appeared first on Futurity.

More from Futurity

Futurity4 min read
Thank Bison And Their Dung For Domesticated Quinoa
The domestication of small-seeded plants like quinoa and amaranth relied on help from large, grazing animals including bison, according to new research. About 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, in river valleys and grasslands all around the world, people star
Futurity3 min readWellness
Immune Cells Are Behind Endometriosis Pain
Scientists have uncovered a key cause for the pelvic pain associated with endometriosis. The discovery may open new opportunities for pain relief for the condition. The new study shows how cells in our immune system play a role in stimulating the gro
Futurity3 min read
Credit Counseling Really Can Ease Your Debt
People who take advantage of nonprofit credit counseling services have statistically significant reductions in consumer debt, according to a new study. “We followed the credit records of counseled consumers and a comparison group for a year and a hal