Muscle volume, MRI relaxation times (T2), and body composition after spaceflight

Adrian LeBlanc, Chen Lin, Linda Shackelford, Valentine Sinitsyn, Harlan Evans, Oleg Belichenko, Boris Schenkman, Inessa Kozlovskaya, Victor Oganov, Alexi Bakulin, Thomas Hedrick, Daniel Feeback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

286 Scopus citations


Postflight changes in muscle volume, calf muscle transverse relaxation time, and total body composition were measured in 4 crew-members after a 17-day mission and in 14-16 crewmembers in multiple shuttle/Mir missions of 16- to 28-wk duration. During the 17-day mission, all muscle regions except the hamstrings significantly decreased 3-10% compared with baseline. During the shuttle/Mir missions, there were significant decreases in muscle volume (5-17%) in all muscle groups except the neck. These changes, which reached a new steady state by 4 mo of flight or less, were reversed within 30-60 days after landing. Postflight swelling and elevation of calf muscle transverse relaxation time persisted for several weeks after flight, which suggests possible muscle damage. In contrast to the 17-day flight, in which loss in fat, but not lean body mass, was found (25), losses in bone mineral content and lean body mass, but not fat, were seen after the longer shuttle/Mir missions. The percent losses in total body lean body mass and bone mineral content were similar at ~3.4-3.5%, whereas the pelvis demonstrated the largest regional bone loss at 13%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2158-2164
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Bone
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Microgravity
  • Mir space station
  • Spacelab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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