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the effect of skeletal unloading on bone formation: role of igf-iThe best documented change in bone during space flight is the near cessation of bone formation. Space flight leads to a decrease in osteoblast number and activity, likely the result of altered differentiation of osteoblast precursors. The net result of these space flight induced changes is weaker bone. To understand the mechanism for these changes poses a challenge. Space flight studies must overcome enormous technical problems, and are necessarily limited in size and frequency. Therefore, ground based models have been developed to evaluate the effects of skeletal unloading. The hindlimb elevation (tail suspension) model simulates space flight better than other models because it reproduces the fluid shifts seen in space travel, is reversible, and is well tolerated by the animals with minimal evidence of stress as indicated by continued weight gain and normal levels and circadian rhythms of corticosterone. This is the model we have used for our experiments. Skeletal unloading by the hindlimb elevation method simulates a number of features of space flight in that bone formation, mineralization, and maturation are inhibited, osteoblast number is decreased, serum and skeletal osteocalcin levels fall, the ash content of bone decreases, and bone strength diminishes. We and others have shown that when osteoblasts or osteoprogenitor cells from the bones of the unloaded limbs are cultured in vitro they proliferate and differentiate more slowly, suggesting that skeletal unloading causes a persistent change in cell function which can be assessed in vitro. In contrast to the unweighted bones of the hindlimbs, no significant change in bone mass or bone formation is observed in the humeri, mandible, and cervical vertebrae during hindlimb elevation. The lack of effect of hindlimb elevation on bones like the humeri, mandible, and cervical vertebrae which are not unloaded by this procedure suggests that local factors rather than systemic effects dominate the response of bone to skeletal unloading. We have focussed on the role of IGF- 1 as the local factor mediating the effects of skeletal unloading on bone formation. IGF-I is produced by bone cells and chondrocytes; these cells have receptors for IGF-I, and respond to IGF-I with an increase in proliferation and function (e.g. collagen, and glycosaminoglycan production, respectively). IGF-I production by bone is under hormonal control, principally by GH and PTH, and IGF-I is thought to mediate some if not all of the effects of GH and PTH on bone growth. Thus, systemic changes in hormones such as GH and PTH may still have effects which vary from bone to bone depending on the loading history.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bikle, D. D.
(Veterans Affairs Medical Center San Francisco, CA United States)
Kostenuik, P.
(Veterans Affairs Medical Center San Francisco, CA United States)
Holton, E. M.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Halloran, B. P.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000020485Analytic PrimaryProceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
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