Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Jul;81(1):98-104.

Control of red blood cell mass in spaceflight.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Baylor Coll Med, Houston, TX


The effect of spaceflight on red blood cell mass (RBCM), plasma volume (PV), erythron iron turnover, serum erythropoietin, and red blood cell (RBC) production and survival and indexes were determined for six astronauts on two shuttle missions, 9 and 14 days in duration, respectively. PV decreased within the first day. RBCM decreased because of destruction of RBCs either newly released or scheduled to be released from the bone marrow. Older RBCs survived normally. On return to Earth, plasma volume increased, hemoglobin concentration and RBC count declined, and serum erythropoietin increased. We propose that entry into microgravity results in acute plethora as a result of a decrease in vascular space. PV decreases, causing an increase in hemoglobin concentration that effects a decrease in erythropoietin or other growth factors or cytokines. The RBCM decreases by destruction of recently formed RBCs to a level appropriate for the microgravity environment. Return to Earth results sequentially in acute hypovolemia as vascular space dependent on gravity is refilled, an increase in plasma volume, a decrease in hemoglobin concentration (anemia), and an increase in serum erythropoietin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center