Collagen cross-link excretion during space flight and bed rest

Scott M. Smith, Jeannie L. Nillen, Adrian Leblanc, Allan Lipton, Laurence M. Demers, Helen W. Lane, Carolyn S. Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Extended exposure to weightlessness results in bone loss. However, little information exists as to the precise nature or time course of this bone loss. Bone resorption results in the release of collagen breakdown products, including N-telopeptide and the pyridinium (PYD) cross-links, pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline. Urinary pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline are known to increase during bed rest. We assessed excretion of PYD cross-links and N-telopeptide before, during, and after long (28-day, 59-day, and 84-day) Skylab missions, as well as during short (14- day) and long (119-day) bed-rest studies. During space flight, the urinary cross-link excretion level was twice those observed before flight. Urinary excretion levels of the collagen breakdown products were also 40-50% higher, dining short and long bed rest, than before. These results clearly show that the changes in bone metabolism associated with space flight involve increased resorption. The rate of response (i.e. within days to weeks) suggests that alterations in bone metabolism are an early effect of weightlessness. These studies are important for a better understanding of bone metabolism in space crews and in those who are bedridden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3584-3591
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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