3D cell culture using a clinostat reproduces microgravity-induced skin changes

Dong Hyun Choi, Byoungjun Jeon, Min Hyuk Lim, Dong Hun Lee, Sang Kyu Ye, Seung Yong Jeong, Sungwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Exposure to microgravity affects human physiology in various ways, and astronauts frequently report skin-related problems. Skin rash and irritation are frequent complaints during space missions, and skin thinning has also been reported after returning to Earth. However, spaceflight missions for studying the physiological changes in microgravity are impractical. Thus, we used a previously developed 3D clinostat to simulate a microgravity environment and investigate whether physiological changes of the skin can be reproduced in a 3D in vitro setting. Our results showed that under time-averaged simulated microgravity (taSMG), the thickness of the endothelial cell arrangement increased by up to 59.75%, indicating skin irritation due to vasodilation, and that the diameter of keratinocytes and fibroblast co-cultured spheroids decreased by 6.66%, representing skin thinning. The α1 chain of type I collagen was upregulated, while the connective tissue growth factor was downregulated under taSMG. Cytokeratin-10 expression was significantly increased in the taSMG environment. The clinostat-based 3D culture system can reproduce physiological changes in the skin similar to those under microgravity, providing insight for understanding the effects of microgravity on human health before space exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Journalnpj Microgravity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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