Analyzing The Effects Of Partial Gravity On Skeletal Integrity
The effect of partial gravity (G) (as on the Lunar surface) on weightbearing bone remains undefined; a new model (the partial G mouse) provides for graded reductions in weightbearing. It was hypothesized that mice exposed to 1/6th G and 1/3rd G (to mimic Lunar weightbearing with full spacesuit) will experience significant reductions in cortical bone mass as compared to ambulatory control animals but that the magnitude of these changes would be less than in 0G mice. Methods: Fifty-eight BALB/cBy female mice were randomly assigned to cage control (1G), ?zero-gravity? hindlimb unloaded (0G), 1/6th gravity (G/6), or 1/3rd gravity (G/3) groups for a 21-day suspension protocol. Ex vivo pQCT scans (XCT-M Stratec; Norland Corp.) were performed at the midshaft of the excised tibia and humerus to measure volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), bone mineral content, and cross-sectional geometry. Results: Total body mass significantly decreased (-7.6%) in 0G mice but not in the G/3 or G/6 groups. Relative to the 1G group, cortical shell BMC at the midshaft of the tibia was significantly lower in the 0G, G/6, and G/3 mice but did not differ among the unloaded mice. Cortical area and thickness at the humerus midshaft were significantly lower in the 0G, G/6 and G/3 mice compared to the 1G mice. Cortical density at the midshaft of the humerus exhibited significant reductions in the 0G and G/6 mice, but not in G/3 mice. There was no significant difference in cortical bone geometry between the 0G, G/6, and G/3 groups at the midshaft of the humerus or tibia. Conclusion: These data suggest that partial weight-bearing (as high as G/3) does not provide enough mechanical loading to prevent the significant deterioration of most cortical bone parameters observed in the 0G non-weightbearing condition.
Luna, Sarah V (2010). Analyzing The Effects Of Partial Gravity On Skeletal Integrity. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from