• 3D PQCT


Prolonged bed rest is used to simulate the effects of spaceflight and causes disuse-related loss of bone. While bone density changes during bed rest have been described, there are no data on changes in bone microstructure. Twenty-four healthy women aged 25 to 40 years participated in 60 days of strict 6-degree head-down tilt bed rest (WISE 2005). Subjects were assigned to either a control group (CON, n = 8), which performed no countermeasures; an exercise group (EXE, n = 8), which undertook a combination of resistive and endurance training; or a nutrition group (NUT, n = 8), which received a high-protein diet. Density and structural parameters of the distal tibia and radius were measured at baseline, during, and up to 1 year after bed rest by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Bed rest was associated with reductions in all distal tibial density parameters (p < 0.001), whereas only distal radius trabecular density decreased. Trabecular separation increased at both the distal tibia and distal radius (p < 0.001), but these effects were first significant after bed rest. Reduction in trabecular number was similar in magnitude at the distal radius (p = 0.021) and distal tibia (p < 0.001). Cortical thickness decreased at the distal tibia only (p < 0.001). There were no significant effects on bone structure or density of the countermeasures (p ≥ 0.057). As measured with HR-pQCT, it is concluded that deterioration in bone microstructure and density occur in women during and after prolonged bed rest. The exercise and nutrition countermeasures were ineffective in preventing these changes. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research