Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 94, Issue 6, pp 569–579

Physiological Effects of Microgravity on Bone Cells

Authors

  • Yasir Arfat
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
  • Wei-Zhong Xiao
    • Department of NeurologyNanhui Branch of Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University
  • Salman Iftikhar
    • Department of PharmacologyFMH College of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Fan Zhao
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
  • Di-Jie Li
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
  • Yu-Long Sun
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
  • Ge Zhang
    • Institute for Advancing Translational Medicine in Bone and Joint Diseases, School of Chinese MedicineHong Kong Baptist University
  • Peng Shang
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
    • Key Laboratory for Space Biosciences & Biotechnology, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Faculty of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical University
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s00223-014-9851-x

Cite this article as:
Arfat, Y., Xiao, W., Iftikhar, S. et al. Calcif Tissue Int (2014) 94: 569. doi:10.1007/s00223-014-9851-x

Abstract

Life on Earth developed under the influence of normal gravity (1g). With evidence from previous studies, scientists have suggested that normal physiological processes, such as the functional integrity of muscles and bone mass, can be affected by microgravity during spaceflight. During the life span, bone not only develops as a structure designed specifically for mechanical tasks but also adapts for efficiency. The lack of weight-bearing forces makes microgravity an ideal physical stimulus to evaluate bone cell responses. One of the most serious problems induced by long-term weightlessness is bone mineral loss. Results from in vitro studies that entailed the use of bone cells in spaceflights showed modification in cell attachment structures and cytoskeletal reorganization, which may be involved in bone loss. Humans exposed to microgravity conditions experience various physiological changes, including loss of bone mass, muscle deterioration, and immunodeficiency. In vitro models can be used to extract valuable information about changes in mechanical stress to ultimately identify the different pathways of mechanotransduction in bone cells. Despite many in vivo and in vitro studies under both real microgravity and simulated conditions, the mechanism of bone loss is still not well defined. The objective of this review is to summarize the recent research on bone cells under microgravity conditions based on advances in the field.

Keywords

Bone cellMicrogravitySimulated microgravityPhysiological effectBone lossMechanotransduction

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014