Nrf2 contributes to the weight gain of mice during space travel
Following experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) it has been reported that deletion of Nrf2, a master regulator of stress defense pathways, affects the health of mice flown for 31 days in Earth’s orbit. All flight mice returned safely to Earth where transcriptome and metabolome analysis revealed that the stresses of space travel evoked ageing-like changes of plasma metabolites, and activated the Nrf2 signaling pathway. Especially, Nrf2 was found to be important for maintaining homeostasis of white adipose tissues.
The study opens approaches for future space research utilizing murine gene knockout-disease models, and provides insights to mitigating space-induced stresses that currently limit potential for space exploration by humans.