Nrf2 contributes to the weight gain of mice during space travel

Takafumi Suzuki, Akira Uruno, Akane Yumoto, Keiko Taguchi, Mikiko Suzuki, Nobuhiko Harada, Rie Ryoke, Eriko Naganuma, Nanae Osanai, Aya Goto, Hiromi Suda, Ryan Browne, Akihito Otsuki, Fumiki Katsuoka, Michael Zorzi, Takahiro Yamazaki, Daisuke Saigusa, Seizo Koshiba, Takashi Nakamura, Satoshi FukumotoHironobu Ikehata, Keizo Nishikawa, Norio Suzuki, Ikuo Hirano, Ritsuko Shimizu, Tetsuya Oishi, Hozumi Motohashi, Hirona Tsubouchi, Risa Okada, Takashi Kudo, Michihiko Shimomura, Thomas W. Kensler, Hiroyasu Mizuno, Masaki Shirakawa, Satoru Takahashi, Dai Shiba, Masayuki Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Space flight produces an extreme environment with unique stressors, but little is known about how our body responds to these stresses. While there are many intractable limitations for in-flight space research, some can be overcome by utilizing gene knockout-disease model mice. Here, we report how deletion of Nrf2, a master regulator of stress defense pathways, affects the health of mice transported for a stay in the International Space Station (ISS). After 31 days in the ISS, all flight mice returned safely to Earth. Transcriptome and metabolome analyses 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. This study opens approaches for future space research utilizing murine gene knockout-disease models, and provides insights into mitigating space-induced stresses that limit the further exploration of space by humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number496
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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