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Space Lab 3: Histomorphometric Analysis of the Rat Skeleton (SL3 BSP15)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Skeletal physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus Species: Rat Strain: Sprague-Dawley


Decreased bone formation is a potentially serious consequence of space flight. Skylab astronauts exhibited a 4 percent decline in the bone mineral density of the calcaneus after 84 days of orbital flight. Rats orbited on Cosmos biosatellites were also characterized by loss of trabecular bone mass and decreased breaking strength of the lumbar vertebra and femur. This study was to investigate the physiologic effects of weightlessness on the rat skeleton, after seven days of orbital flight aboard the Space Shuttle.

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Wronski TJ, et al. Histomorphometric Analysis of Rat Skeleton Following Spaceflight. American Journal of Physiology 1987; 252:R252-R255.

Wronski TJ, Morey- Holton ER, Maese AC, Walsh CC. Spacelab 3: Histomorphometric Analysis of the Rat Skeleton. Abstract 83.8. 36th Annual Fall Meeting of the American Physiological Society; 1985 Oct 13-18; Buffalo (NY) Physiologist 1985; 28(4):376.

Bone and bones
Bone mineralization
Bone remodeling

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.

Area, bone formation, Periosteal perimeters, calcein labels, tibia, rat, Interactive image analysis system
Area, Osteoblast surface, humerus (proximal)/lumbar vertebra, rat, Micrographs (%)
Area, Osteoclast surface, humerus (proximal)/lumbar vertebra, rat, Micrographs (%)
Count, Osteoblasts, humerus (proximal)/lumbar vertebra, rat, Micrographs (#)
Count, Osteoclasts, humerus (proximal)/lumbar vertebra, rat, Micrographs (#)
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-51B 04/29/1985 05/06/1985 7 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Sylvain Costes
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Protocol / Approach
Simulated flight control
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