Skip to page content Mission Information


Simulated Space Radiation and Weightlessness: Vascular-Bone Coupling Mechanisms to Preserve Skeletal Health (NCC958MA02501)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Muscle physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mice

Astronauts may develop bone loss in space as a result of environmental challenges such as exposure to weightlessness and ionizing radiation. Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between production of free radicals and the ability of cells to counteract their harmful effects at the molecular level. To date, little is known about the combined effects of weightlessness and space radiation on the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, and how these two systems interact in maintaining bone health. The overall objectives of this study were to define mechanisms and risks of bone loss in space, to explore the relationship between microvessel function and bone loss due to weightlessness and radiation exposure, and to help develop effective ways to prevent bone loss.

This study had the following specific aims:

  1. Determine the functional and structural consequences of prolonged weightlessness and space radiation (simulated spaceflight) for bone and skeletal vasculature in the context of bone cell function and oxidative stress.
  2. Determine the extent to which an anti-oxidant protects against weightlessness and space radiation-induced bone loss and vascular dysfunction.
  3. Determine how low dose space radiation influences later skeletal recovery from prolonged weightlessness.
  4. Determine if transient treatment with countermeasures protects from bone loss caused by weightlessness and radiation during subsequent aging.

++ -- View more

Schreurs AS, Shirazi-Fard Y, Shahnazari M, Alwood JS, Truong TA, Tahimic CG, Limoli CL, Turner ND, Halloran B, Globus RK. Dried plum diet protects from bone loss caused by ionizing radiation. Scientific Reports. 2016. February 11;6:21343. [DOI]

Shirazi-Fard Y, Alwood JS, Schreurs AS, Castillo AB, and Globus RK. Mechanical loading causes site-specific anabolic effects on bone following exposure to ionizing radiation. Bone. 2015. July 18. [DOI]

Alwood, J. S., Shahnazari, M., Chicana, B., Schreurs, A. S., Kumar, A., Bartolini, A., Globus, R. K. (2015). Ionizing Radiation Stimulates Expression of Pro-Osteoclastogenic Genes in Marrow and Skeletal Tissue. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 35(6), 480–487. [DOI]

Tahimic CGT, Globus RK. Redox signaling and its impact on skeletal and vascular responses to spaceflight. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017 Oct 16;18(10):E2153. [DOI]

Alwood JS, Tran LH, Schreurs AS, Shirazi-Fard Y, Kumar A, Hilton D, Tahimic CGT, and Globus RK. Dose- and ion-dependent effects in the oxidative stress response to space-like radiation exposure in the skeletal system. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017. October 10; 18(10):E2117. [DOI]

Ghosh P, Behnke BJ, Stabley JN, Kilar CR, Park Y, Narayanan A, Alwood JS, Shirazi-Fard Y, Schreurs AS, Globus RK, and Delp MD. Effects of high-LET radiation exposure and hindlimb unloading on skeletal muscle resistance artery vasomotor properties and cancellous bone microarchitecture in mice. Radiation Research. 2016. March; 185(3):257-66. [DOI]

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.

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Terry Hill
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
Crew Health NNJ10ZSA003N