(CNN) — Genetically enhanced “mighty mice” that were part of a heath experiment on the International Space Station have shown that blocking a molecular signaling pathway can protect against muscle and bone density loss in the absence of gravity.
The new study also revealed this treatment promoted the recovery of muscle and bone mass once the mice returned to Earth.
The results are promising to researchers because they could be used to develop therapies that might help astronauts mitigate the muscle and bone loss they experience during long-term spaceflight.
Targeting this pathway could also be used to help people on Earth who experience muscle and bone loss due to various conditions such as muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis and diseases that cause muscle wasting like cancer, heart disease, sepsis and AIDS.
The study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. NASA astronauts Drew Morgan, Christina Koch and