Body mass, energy intake, and water consumption of rats and humans during space flight

C. E. Wade, M. M. Miller, L. A. Baer, M. M. Moran, M. K. Steele, T. P. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Alteration of metabolism has been suggested as a major limiting factor to long-term space flight. In humans and primates, a negative energy balance has been reported. The metabolic response of rats to space flight has been suggested to result in a negative energy balance. We hypothesized that rats flown in space would maintain energy balance as indicated by maintenance of caloric intake and body mass gain. Further, the metabolism of the rat would be similar to that of laboratory-reared animals. We studied the results from 15 space flights lasting 4 to 19 d. There was no difference in average body weight (206 ± 13.9 versus 206 ± 14.8 g), body weight gain (5.8 ± 0.48 versus 5.9 ± 0.56 g/d), caloric intake (309 ± 21.0 versus 309 ± 20.1 kcal/kg of body mass per day), or water intake (200 ± 8.6 versus 199 ± 9.3 mL/kg of body mass per day) between flight and ground control animals. Compared with standard laboratory animals of similar body mass, no differences were noted. The observations suggested that the negative balance observed in humans and non-human primates may be due to other factors in the space-flight environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-836
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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