Changes in interstitial fluid flow, mass transport and the bone cell response in microgravity and normogravity

Fei Wei, Kendal Flowerdew, Michael Kinzel, Luigi E. Perotti, Jackson Asiatico, Mahmoud Omer, Candice Hovell, Veerle Reumers, Melanie J. Coathup

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In recent years, our scientific interest in spaceflight has grown exponentially and resulted in a thriving area of research, with hundreds of astronauts spending months of their time in space. A recent shift toward pursuing territories farther afield, aiming at near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars combined with the anticipated availability of commercial flights to space in the near future, warrants continued understanding of the human physiological processes and response mechanisms when in this extreme environment. Acute skeletal loss, more severe than any bone loss seen on Earth, has significant implications for deep space exploration, and it remains elusive as to why there is such a magnitude of difference between bone loss on Earth and loss in microgravity. The removal of gravity eliminates a critical primary mechano-stimulus, and when combined with exposure to both galactic and solar cosmic radiation, healthy human tissue function can be negatively affected. An additional effect found in microgravity, and one with limited insight, involves changes in dynamic fluid flow. Fluids provide the most fundamental way to transport chemical and biochemical elements within our bodies and apply an essential mechano-stimulus to cells. Furthermore, the cell cytoplasm is not a simple liquid, and fluid transport phenomena together with viscoelastic deformation of the cytoskeleton play key roles in cell function. In microgravity, flow behavior changes drastically, and the impact on cells within the porous system of bone and the influence of an expanding level of adiposity are not well understood. This review explores the role of interstitial fluid motion and solute transport in porous bone under two different conditions: normogravity and microgravity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number65
JournalBone Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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