Artificial gravity maintains skeletal muscle protein synthesis during 21 days of simulated microgravity

T. B. Symons, M. Sheffield-Moore, D. L. Chinkes, A. A. Ferrando, D. Paddon-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


We sought to determine the effects of longitudinal loading (artificial gravity) on skeletal muscle protein kinetics in 15 healthy young males after 21 days of 6° head-down tilt bed rest [experimental treatment (Exp) group: n = 8, 31 ± 1 yr; control (Con) group; n = 7, 28 ± 1 yr, means ± SE]. On days 1 and 21 of bed rest, postabsorptive venous blood samples and muscle biopsies (vastus lateralis and soleus) were obtained during a 1-h pulse bolus infusion protocol (0 min, L-[ring-13C6] phenylalanine, 35 μmol/kg; 30 min, L-[ring-15N]phenylalanine, 35 μmol/kg). Outcome measures included mixed muscle fractional synthesis (FSR) and breakdown rates (FBR). The Exp group experienced 1 h of longitudinal loading (2.5G at the feet) via a short-radius centrifuge during each day of bed rest. Mixed muscle FSR in the Con group was reduced by 48.5% (day 1, 0.081 ± 0.000%/h vs. day 21, 0.042 ± 0.000%/h; P = 0.001) in vastus lateralis after 21 days of bed rest, whereas the Exp group maintained their rate of protein synthesis. A similar but nonsignificant change in FSR was noted for the soleus muscle (Exp, -7%; Con, -22%). No changes in muscle protein breakdown were observed. In conclusion, 1 h of daily exposure to artificial gravity maintained the rate of protein synthesis of the vastus lateralis and may represent an effective adjunct countermeasure to combat the loss of muscle mass and functional during extended spaceflight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Countermeasure
  • Muscle loss
  • Spaceflight
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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