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Mighty Mice are going to Space!

Preclinical Evaluations of proteins to stop loss of muscle mass in space has begun, making way for future advances in numerous health issues here on earth. 

Mighty Mice with special protein injections are being sent up to the International Space Station (ISS) for testing on muscle atrophy.  On Thursday December 5th, 2019, SpaceX was scheduled to deliver 5700 lbs (2,585 kilos) of cargo to the ISS on their Dragon Spacecraft, and will be SpaceX’s 3rd launch to the ISS this year making use of the government contracts acquired by the American Space Agency.

In the Dragon Cargo are the nicknamed “Mighty Mice” who are part of Rodent Research-19 (or RR-19), and the studies that will be taking place are very insightful.  RR-19 is a group of 40 female mice that are on a mission to help with scientific research on muscle loss/deterioration on astronauts while in space on the ISS and future space travel.  The research will also help with other muscle loss treatments on earth as seen in patients with a variety of different diseases like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, kidney failure, sepsis, and AIDS. These studies also have implications for improving bone health, such as in patients with osteoporosis and the elderly.  

There were no specifications on to why the entire group of 40 mice were all female, but my personal hypothesis would be that in nature females tend to have lower natural testosterone levels to begin with up to 40% less than men (testosterone plays a major role in muscle increase and building).  Lower testosterone levels in the female mice may help with the research and tests because the lower skeletal muscle mass is already being played out naturally.

To prepare RR-19 for their mission scientists on Earth used intraperitoneal injections on mice (stomach injections see image below) to alter the Myostatin with a soluble protein known as Activin Receptor Type 2B (or ACVR2B), assessed and reviewed with Dual-Energy X-ray Absorpitiometry (DXA) and frequent bone scans.  Protein ACVR2B causes for the mice to have twice as much skeletal muscle mass as normal mice.  The Mighty MIce team is 2 sets of 20 female mice, 20 with the ACVR2B injections, and 20 other female mice that do not have the ACVR2B injections to evaluate the effectiveness of these first trials. The Astronauts and mice on the ISS will be taking part in making very valuable scientific insights into how myostatin targeting could prevent (or slow down) such terrible diseases that cause muscle loss in space and also here on earth.

Professor Dr. Se-Jin Lee from Jackson Laboratory and UCONN Health states on Dec 2nd 2019:
“We’re also excited because we think that this could have applications for many many conditions that people experience here back on Earth in which muscle and bone loss is a serious problem.”

Source: ISS National Laboratory Youtube Channel embeded below

Past research on this muscle atrophy while in space matter has also suggested that astronauts have doses of steroids as well to combat muscle atrophy.  In the coming future it may become common practice that being in space would have a requirement of being “Super-Human” in order to survive.  

So for all that it is worth – It is 2020 and in order to go to space you either have to be incredibly super-smart with numerous PHD’s OR a lab rat.  Sign me up for Team Lab Rat! #GoLabRats #NASA #Moustranauts #MightyMouse #MightyMice #MightyMiceTeam

Any comments or ideas on this post? Feel free to participate below!

Dragon Capsule photo credits: NASA, SpaceX, Wikicommons,
Mighty Mouse: Vector Derived from

40 Female Mice: 20 with ACVR2B injections, and 20 without. Below: Intraperitoneal Injections on mice procedure.

Mice Intraperitoneal Injection Procedure

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