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Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2020 Feb;18(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/s11914-019-00540-y.

Spaceflight-Induced Bone Tissue Changes that Affect Bone Quality and Increase Fracture Risk.

Coulombe JC1,2,3, Senwar B1,2,3, Ferguson VL4,5,6.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, UCB 427, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.
2
BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, UCB 596, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.
3
BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, UCB 429, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.
4
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, UCB 427, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA. Virginia.Ferguson@colorado.edu.
5
BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, UCB 596, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA. Virginia.Ferguson@colorado.edu.
6
BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, UCB 429, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA. Virginia.Ferguson@colorado.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Bone mineral density and systemic factors are used to assess skeletal health in astronauts. Yet, even in a general population, these measures fail to accurately predict when any individual will fracture. This review considers how long-duration human spaceflight requires evaluation of additional bone structural and material quality measures that contribute to microgravity-induced skeletal fragility.

RECENT FINDINGS:

In both humans and small animal models following spaceflight, bone mass is compromised via reduced bone formation and elevated resorption levels. Concurrently, bone structural quality (e.g., trabecular microarchitecture) is diminished and the quality of bone material is reduced via impaired tissue mineralization, maturation, and maintenance (e.g., mediated by osteocytes). Bone structural and material quality are both affected by microgravity and may, together, jeopardize astronaut operational readiness and lead to increased fracture risk upon return to gravitational loading. Future studies need to directly evaluate how bone quality combines with diminished bone mass to influence bone strength and toughness (e.g., resistance to fracture). Bone quality assessment promises to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

KEYWORDS:

Architecture; BMD; Bone; Fracture; Microgravity; Quality; Spaceflight

PMID:
31897866
DOI:
10.1007/s11914-019-00540-y

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