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The Effect of Hindlimb Suspension on the Reproductive System of Young Male RatsColonization of space requires the ability to reproduce in reduced gravity. Following spaceflight, astronauts and male rats exhibit decreased testosterone (T). This has important implications as T effects the testes and accessory sex glands. To our knowledge no studies have examined the effects of spaceflight on accessory sex glands. Due to the rarity of spaceflight opportunities, ground models have been used to simulate weightlessness. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of long-term (21 d) weightlessness on the reproductive system of male rats. Weightlessness was simulated using the Morey-Holton hindlimb suspension (HLS) model. Age 10 week old, male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing (209.0 +9.7g) were randomly assigned (n=10/group) to either HLS or ambulatory control. In HLS rats, testes mass was 33% lower (p<0.05) than ambulatory controls. However, HLS had no effect on prostate (0.65 +0.09g vs 0.69 +0.12g) or seminal vesicles (1.01 +0.35g vs 0.75 +0.22g) weights compared to controls. The absence of effects on plasma T in this study contrasts previous reports of reduced plasma T in HLS male rats. This discrepancy may have been due to the age of animal and timing of sampling. T levels vary dramatically during testes development as well as within normal diurnal cycles. In young HLS rats, testes weight was reduced but not plasma T. Subsequently there was no effect on accessory sex glands. However, this may not be the case in older rats. More studies using standardized methods are needed to gain a better understanding of male reproduction function and capability in weightlessness. Funding provided by NASA.
Document ID
20020061287
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Tou, Janet (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Grindeland, R. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Baer, L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Guran, G. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Fung, C. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Wade, C. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Dalton, Bonnie P.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Experimental Biology 2002(New Orleans, LA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.