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Three-dimensional growth of human endothelial cells in an automated cell culture experiment container during the SpaceX CRS-8 ISS space mission - The SPHEROIDS project

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Bauer,  Johann
Scientific Service Groups, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Pietsch, J., Gass, S., Nebuloni, S., Echegoyen, D., Riwaldt, S., Baake, C., et al. (2017). Three-dimensional growth of human endothelial cells in an automated cell culture experiment container during the SpaceX CRS-8 ISS space mission - The SPHEROIDS project. Biomaterials, 124, 126-156. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.02.005.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-E630-F
Abstract
Human endothelial cells (ECs) were sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to determine the impact of microgravity on the formation of three-dimensional structures. For this project, an automatic experiment unit (EU) was designed allowing cell culture in space. In order to enable a safe cell culture, cell nourishment and fixation after a pre-programmed timeframe, the materials used for construction of the EUs were tested in regard to their biocompatibility. These tests revealed a high biocompatibility for all parts of the EUs, which were in contact with the cells or the medium used. Most importantly, we found polyether ether ketones for surrounding the incubation chamber, which kept cellular viability above 80% and allowed the cells to adhere as long as they were exposed to normal gravity. After assembling the EU the ECs were cultured therein, where they showed good cell viability at least for 14 days. In addition, the functionality of the automatic medium exchange, and fixation procedures were confirmed. Two days before launch, the ECs were cultured in the EUs, which were afterwards mounted on the SpaceX CRS-8 rocket 5 and 12 days after launch the cells were fixed. Subsequent analyses revealed a scaffold-free formation of spheroids in space. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.