One-month spaceflight compromises the bone microstructure, tissue-level mechanical properties, osteocyte survival and lacunae volume in mature mice skeletons

Abstract : The weightless environment during spaceflight induces site-specific bone loss. The 30-day Bion-M1 mission offered a unique opportunity to characterize the skeletal changes after spaceflight and an 8-day recovery period in mature male C57/BL6 mice. In the femur metaphysis, spaceflight decreased the trabecular bone volume (−64% vs. Habitat Control), dramatically increased the bone resorption (+140% vs. Habitat Control) and induced marrow adiposity invasion. At the diaphysis, cortical thinning associated with periosteal resorption was observed. In the Flight animal group, the osteocyte lacunae displayed a reduced volume and a more spherical shape (synchrotron radiation analyses), and empty lacunae were highly increased (+344% vs. Habitat Control). Tissue-level mechanical cortical properties (i.e., hardness and modulus) were locally decreased by spaceflight, whereas the mineral characteristics and collagen maturity were unaffected. In the vertebrae, spaceflight decreased the overall bone volume and altered the modulus in the periphery of the trabecular struts. Despite normalized osteoclastic activity and an increased osteoblast number, bone recovery was not observed 8 days after landing. In conclusion, spaceflight induces osteocyte death, which may trigger bone resorption and result in bone mass and microstructural deterioration. Moreover, osteocyte cell death, lacunae mineralization and fatty marrow, which are hallmarks of ageing, may impede tissue maintenance and repair.
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Maude Gerbaix, Vasily Gnyubkin, Delphine Farlay, Cécile Olivier, Patrick Ammann, et al.. One-month spaceflight compromises the bone microstructure, tissue-level mechanical properties, osteocyte survival and lacunae volume in mature mice skeletons. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (1), pp.2659. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-03014-2⟩. ⟨hal-01597312⟩

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