Regulation of body fluid compartments during short-term spaceflight

Carolyn S. Leach, Clarence P. Alfrey, Wadi N. Suki, Joel I. Leonard, Paul C. Rambaut, L. Daniel Inners, Scott M. Smith, Helen W. Lane, Jane M. Krauhs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


The fluid and electrolyte regulation experiment with seven subjects was designed to describe body fluid, renal, and fluid regulatory hormone responses during the Spacelab Life Sciences-1 (9 days) and -2 (14 days) missions. Total body water did not change significantly. Plasma volume (PV; P < 0.05) and extracellular fluid volume (ECFV; P < 0.10) decreased 21 h after launch, remaining below preflight levels until after landing. Fluid intake decreased during weightlessness, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) increased in the first 2 days and on day 8 (P < 0.05). Urinary antidiuretic hormone (ADH) excretion increased (P < 0.05) and fluid excretion decreased early in flight (P < 0.10). Plasma renin activity (PRA; P < 0.10) and aldosterone (P < 0.05) decreased in the first few hours after launch; PRA increased 1 wk later (P < 0.05). During flight, plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentrations were consistently lower than preflight means, and urinary cortisol excretion was usually greater than preflight levels. Acceleration at launch and landing probably caused increases in ADH and cortisol excretion, and a shift of fluid from the extracellular to the intracellular compartment would account for reductions in ECFV. Increased permeability of capillary membranes may be the most important mechanism causing spaceflight-induced PV reduction, which is probably maintained by increased GFR and other mechanisms. If the Gauer-Henry reflex operates during spaceflight, it must be completed within the first 21 h of flight and be succeeded by establishment of a reduced PV set point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • extracellular fluid
  • fluid intake
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • plasma volume
  • total body water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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