Characteristics of local human skeleton responses to microgravity and drug treatment for osteoporosis in clinic


Analysis of the results of long-term investigations of bones in cosmonauts on board Mir orbital station(OS) and International Space Station (ISS) (n = 80) was performed. Theoretically predicted (evolutionary predefined) change in mass of different skeleton bones was found to be correlated (r = 0.904) with the position relative to Earth’s gravity vector. Vector dependence of bone loss results from local specificity of expression of bone metabolism genes, which reflects mechanical prehistory of skeleton structures in the evolution of Homo erectus. Genetic polymorphism is accountable for high individual variability of bone loss, which is attested by the dependence of bone loss rate on polymorphism of certain genetic markers of bone metabolism. The type of the orbital vehicle did not affect the individual-specific stability of the bone loss ratio in different segments of the skeleton. This fact is considered as a phenotype fingerprint of local metabolism in the form of a locus-specific spatial structure of distribution of non-collagen proteins responsible for position regulation of endosteal metabolism. Drug treatment of osteoporosis (n = 107) evidences that recovery rate depends on bone location; the most likely reason is different effectiveness of local osteotropic intervention into areas of bustling resorption.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Alberts, B., Bray, D., Lewis, J., et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, New York: Garland Publications, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Baranov, V.S., Baranova, E.V., Ivashchenko, T.E., et al., Genom cheloveka i geny “predraspolozhennosti”: Vvedenie v prediktivnuyu meditsinu (Human Genome and Genes of “Predisposition”: Introduction to Predictive Medicine), St. Petersburg, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Korzhuev, P.A., Evolyutsiya, gravitatsiya, nevesomost’ (Evolution, Gravity, and Microgravity), Moscow, 1971.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kornilov, N.V. and Avrunin, A.S., Adaptatsionnye protsessy v organakh skeleta (Adaptation Processes in Skeleton Organs), St. Petersburg, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Oganov, V.S., Kostnaya sistema, nevesomost’ i osteoporoz (Bone System, Microgravity, and Osteoporosis), Moscow, 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Oganov, V.S., Baranov, V.S., Kabitskaya, O.E., et al., Analysis of polymorphism of genes of bone metabolism and assessment of the risk of development of osteopenia in cosmonauts, Kosm. Biol. Aviakosm. Med., 2010, vol. 44, no. 3, p. 18.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Oganov, V.S. and Bogomolov, V.V., Bone system of humans in microgravity: Review of results of studies, hypotheses, and possibility of predicting the state in long-duration (interplanetary) missions, Kosm. Biol. Aviakosm. Med., 2009, vol. 43, no. 1, p. 3.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Oganov, V.S. and Shnaider, V.S., Bone system, in Kosmicheskaya biologiya i meditsina, vol. 3, book 1: Chelovek v kosmicheskom polete (Space Biology and Medicine, vol. 3, book 1: Humans in Space Flight), Moscow, 1997, p. 421.

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Tairbekov, M.G., Klimovitskii, V.Ya., and Oganov, V.S., Role of gravity force in evolution of living systems: Biomechanical and energetic aspects, Izv. Akad. Nauk Ser. Biol., 1997, no. 5, p. 517.

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Bonuchi, E. and Silvestrini, G., Ultrastructure of organic matrix of embryonic avian bone after en bloc reaction with various electron-dense “stains,” Acta Anat., 1996, vol. 156, no. 1, p. 22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Carter, D.R., Wong, M., and Orr, T.E., Musculoskeletal ontogeny, phylogeny and functional adaptation, in Proc. of the NASA Symp. on the Influence of Gravity and Activity on Muscle and Bone, J. Biomechanics, 1991, vol. 24, suppl. 1, p. 3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Kanis, J.A., Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis: synopsis of a WHO report. WHO Study Group, Osteoporos. Int., 1994, no. 4, p. 368.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Sibonga, J.D., Evans, H.J., Sung, H.G., et al., Recovery of spaceflight-induced bone loss: bone mineral density after long-duration missions as fitted with an exponential function, Bone, 2007, vol. 41, p. 973.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Vico, L., Lafage-Proust, M.-H., Collet, Ph., et al., Effects of space flight on bone of cosmonauts: does it lead to a definite bone deficiency?, International Scientific Cooperation on Board Mir, Lion, France, 2001, p. 189.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to O. E. Kabitskaya.

Additional information

Original Russian Text © V.S. Oganov, I.A. Skripnikova, V.E. Novikov, A.V. Bakulin, O.E. Kabitskaya, L.M. Murashko, 2011, published in Aviakosmicheskaya i Ekologicheskaya Meditsina, 2011, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 16–21.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Oganov, V.S., Skripnikova, I.A., Novikov, V.E. et al. Characteristics of local human skeleton responses to microgravity and drug treatment for osteoporosis in clinic. Hum Physiol 40, 762–766 (2014).

Download citation


  • Bone Mass
  • Bone Mineral Content
  • International Space Station
  • Bone System
  • Bone Mass Loss