Magnetic Levitation of MC3T3 Osteoblast Cells as a Ground-Based Simulation of Microgravity
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Diamagnetic samples placed in a strong magnetic field and a magnetic field gradient experience a magnetic force. Stable magnetic levitation occurs when the magnetic force exactly counter balances the gravitational force. Under this condition, a diamagnetic sample is in a simulated microgravity environment. The purpose of this study is to explore if MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells can be grown in magnetically simulated hypo-g and hyper-g environments and determine if gene expression is differentially expressed under these conditions. The murine calvarial osteoblastic cell line, MC3T3-E1, grown on Cytodex-3 beads, were subjected to a net gravitational force of 0, 1 and 2 g in a 17 T superconducting magnet for 2 days. Microarray analysis of these cells indicated that gravitational stress leads to up and down regulation of hundreds of genes. The methodology of sustaining long-term magnetic levitation of biological systems are discussed.