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Effects of High Glucose on Human Endothelial Cells Exposed to Simulated Microgravity

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A diabetogenic state induced by spaceflight provokes stress and health problems in astronauts. Microgravity (µg) is one of the main stressors in space causing hyperglycaemia. However, the underlying molecular pathways and synergistic effects of µg and hyperglycaemia are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of high glucose on EA.hy926 endothelial cells in simulated µg (s-µg) using a 3D clinostat and static normogravity (1g) conditions. After 14 days of cell culture under s-µg and 1g conditions, we compared the expression of extracellular matrix (ECM), inflammation, glucose metabolism, and apoptosis-related genes and proteins through qPCR, immunofluorescence, and Western blot analyses, respectively. Apoptosis was evaluated via TUNEL staining. Gene interactions were examined via STRING analysis. Our results show that glucose concentrations had a weaker effect than altered gravity. µg downregulated the ECM gene and protein expression and had a stronger influence on glucose metabolism than hyperglycaemia. Moreover, hyperglycaemia caused more pronounced changes in 3D cultures than in 2D cultures, including bigger and a greater number of spheroids, upregulation of NOX4 and the apoptotic proteins NF-κB and CASP3, and downregulation of fibronectin and transglutaminase-2. Our findings bring new insights into the possible molecular pathways involved in the diabetogenic vascular effects in µg.

Original languageEnglish
Article number189
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

    Research areas

  • 3D cell culture, apoptosis, endothelial cells, extracellular matrix, hyperglycaemia, interleukin-8, microgravity

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