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Calcium Balance in Mature Rats Exposed to a Space Flight ModelNegative calcium balances are seen in humans during spaceflight and bed rest, an analog of space flight. Due to the infrequency and costliness of space flight and the difficulties, cost, and restraints in using invasive procedures in bed rest studies, several ground based animal models of space flight have been employed. The most useful and well developed of these models is hind limb unloading in the rat. In this model the hind limbs are non-weight bearing (unloaded) but still mobile; there is a cephalad fluid shift similar to that seen in astronauts in flight; the animals are able to feed, groom and locomote using their front limbs; the procedure is reversible; and, importantly, the model has been validated by comparison to space flight. Several laboratories have studied calcium balance using rats in hind limb unweighting. Roer and Dillaman used young male rats to study calcium balance in this model for 25 days. They found no differences in dietary calcium intake, percent calcium absorption, urinary and fecal excretion, hence indicating no differences in calcium balance between control and unloaded rats. In another study, employing 120 day old females, rats' hind limbs were unloaded for 28 days. While negative calcium balances were observed during a 25 day recovery period no balance measurements were possible during unweighting since the researchers did not employ appropriate metabolic cages. In a recent study from this laboratory, using 200 g rats in the space flight model for two weeks, we found depressed intestinal calcium absorption and increased fecal calcium excretion (indicating less positive calcium balances) and lower circulating 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The above studies indicate that there remains a dearth of information on calcium balance during the hind limb unloading rat space flight model, especially in mature rats, whose use is a better model for planned manned space flight than juvenile or growing animals. With the aid of a newly designed metabolic cage developed in our laboratory it is now possible to accurately measure urinary and fecal calcium excretions in this space flight model. The purpose of this study, then, was to extend and enlarge our previous findings viz: to measure calcium balances in mature rats exposed to a space flight model.
Document ID
Document Type
Wolinsky, Ira (Houston Univ. TX United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1996
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19970010146Analytic Primary1996 NASA-ASEE-Stanford Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
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