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Body mass change during altered gravity: spaceflight, centrifugation, and return to 1 G


, : Body mass change during altered gravity: spaceflight, centrifugation, and return to 1 G. Journal of Gravitational Physiology 4(3): 43-48

To assess the effect of gravity on growth, immature rats (130-200 g) were studied during chronic altered gravity exposure and while transitioning between gravity fields. Body mass gain of rats (n = 12) exposed to 14 days of microgravity (spaceflight) was evaluated and compared to mass gain of 1 G controls. Spaceflight did not affect mass gain. Six rats exposed to 1 G following spaceflight, when compared to controls, experienced a significant (0 < 0.05) post-flight mass loss over 48 h of 13 g. Over subsequent days, however, this loss was compensated for, and no difference from 1 G controls was noted after 5 days. Exposure to hypergravity (2 G) for 16 days was evaluated [(n = 6/group): Centrifuge (C); On Center Control (OCC); Centrifuge Control (CC)]. Body mass of centrifuged and OCC rats was reduced within 24 h, with OCCs regaining control mass within 13 days. The mass difference (44 g) in centrifuged animals persisted, however, with no subsequent difference in rate of mass gain between centrifuged animals and controls over Days 3-16 (3.7 +/- 0.1 vs. 3.9 +/- 0.1 g/day, respectively). Transitioning from 2 G to 1 G resulted in a mass increase within 48 hours for centrifuged animals. Over Days 3-16 at 1 G, the rate of gain for centrifuged animals continued to increase (3.1 +/- 0.1 g/day compared to 2.1 +/- 0.1 g/day for controls); differences from control, however, were still noted on Day 16. Transitioning to an increase in a gravity field causes acute losses in body mass. In hypergravity, the acute reduction in body mass persists but the rate of mass gain is normal. Animals returning to 1 G, after acute changes, adjust to attain control mass.

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PMID: 11541868


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