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The effect of weightlessness on the tendon-to-bone insertion (ARC00XX125)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Developmental biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mouse Strain: B6.SJL-Ptprca Pepcb/BoyJ (002014)


The overall objective of this experiment was to examine the effect of prolonged weightlessness on the mechanical and biochemical properties of muscles, tendons, and their insertions into bone. Soft tissue injuries often occur at the sites of attachment of tendons and ligament to bone. The sensitivity of the musculoskeletal system to its mechanical environment may magnify the injury susceptibility of insertion sites during prolonged exposure to microgravity. Changes in loading across joints will lead to changes in tissue mechanical, structural, and biochemical properties. Joint unloading will result in a catabolic biologic state and subsequent tissue degeneration. Physiologic joint loading, on the other hand, will result in an anabolic biologic state and maintenance of tissue properties. The negative effect of unloading has most clearly been demonstrated in bone. Less is known about the effect of weightlessness on joint soft tissues.

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Lim, C.; Shen, H.; and Thomopoulos S.: Microgravity Leads to Degeneration of Murine Rotator Cuff Muscles. Transactions of the 57th Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Long Beach, Calif., 2011, vol. 36, paper 208. [NTRS]

Lee, K.S.; Lim, C.; Carr, J.A.; Gastwirt, R.F.; Thomopoulos S.; and Ward, S.R.: Effects of Microgravity on the Passive Mechanical Properties of Muring Skeletal Muscles. Transactions of the 57th Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Long Beach, Calif., 2011, vol. 36, paper 1665. [NTRS]

Shen H, Lim C, Schwartz AG, Andreev-Andrievskiy A, Deymier AC, Thomopoulos S. Effects of spaceflight on the muscles of the murine shoulder. FASEB J. 2017 Aug 17. [DOI]

Biomechanical phenomena
Ligaments, articular
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

NASA GeneLab Data

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-131 04/05/2010 04/20/2010 15 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Martha Del Alto
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source