BONE LOSS RECOVERY IN MICE FOLLOWING MICROGRAVITY WITH CONCURRENT BONE-COMPARTMENT-SPECIFIC OSTEOCYTE CHARACTERISTICS
Space missions provide the opportunity to investigate the influence of gravity on the dynamic remodelling processes in bone. Mice were examined following space flight and subsequent recovery to determine the effects on bone compartment-specific microstructure and composition. The resulting bone loss following microgravity recovered only in trabecular bone, while in cortical bone the tissue mineral density was restored after only one week on Earth. Detection of TRAP-positive bone surface cells in the trabecular compartment indicated increased resorption following space flight. In cortical bone, a persistent reduced viability of osteocytes suggested an impaired sensitivity to mechanical stresses. A compartment-dependent structural recovery from microgravity-induced bone loss was shown, with a direct osteocytic contribution to persistent low bone volume in the cortical region even after a recovery period. Trabecular recovery was not accompanied by changes in osteocyte characteristics. These post-space-flight findings will contribute to the understanding of compositional changes that compromise bone quality caused by unloading, immobilisation, or disuse.