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Bone. 1997 Jun;20(6):547-51.

Effects of 1- and 6-month spaceflight on bone mass and biochemistry in two humans.

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  • 1LBTO-GIP "Exercice," Universit√© de St. Etienne, France.


The bone mineral density and the biochemical parameters exploring bone cell activities were analyzed in two cosmonauts who spent 1 and 6 months, respectively, in the Russian MIR station. Measurements were performed before the flight, after the flight, and after a recovery period. At the end of the first month, peripheral QCT measurements indicated a slight decrease of trabecular bone mass in the distal tibial metaphysis. However, after 6 months of spaceflight, a more marked loss of trabecular and cortical bones was observed in the tibia, and was still significant after 6 month recovery in the trabecular compartment, whereas a decrease was no longer observed in the cortical envelope. No change was observed in either compartment of the distal radius at any time. Ultrasound BUA of the calcaneus was greatly reduced by the first month, followed by a more dramatic decrease after month 6. Ultrasound SOS detected no change. Parameters reflecting bone formation activity appeared to be depressed after both missions. In contrast, no dramatic change in resorption parameters was observed, except for a trend toward an increase in pyridinoline. In conclusion, the lower weight-bearing bones appeared more sensitive than the upper ones in terms of spaceflight-induced bone loss. This probably explained the absence of marked systemic biochemical data changes. This study further suggests that recovery in the tibial trabecular compartment 6 months after landing was not completed after a 6 month mission.

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