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Am J Physiol. 1987 Feb;252(2 Pt 2):R252-5.

Histomorphometric analysis of rat skeleton following spaceflight.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats were placed in orbit for 7 days aboard the space shuttle. Bone histomorphometry was performed in the long bones and lumbar vertebrae of flight rats and compared with data derived from ground-based control rats. Trabecular bone mass was not altered during the 1st wk of weightlessness. Strong trends were observed in flight rats for decreased periosteal bone formation in the tibial diaphysis, reduced osteoblast size in the proximal tibia, and decreased osteoblast surface and number in the lumbar vertebra. For the most part, histological indexes of bone resorption were normal in flight rats. The results indicate that 7 days of weightlessness are not of sufficient duration to induce histologically detectable loss of trabecular bone in rats. However, cortical and trabecular bone formation appear to be diminished during the 1st wk of spaceflight.

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