Protein kinetics during and after long-duration spaceflight on MIR

T. P. Stein, M. J. Leskiw, M. D. Schluter, M. R. Donaldson, I. Larina

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107 Scopus citations


Human spaceflight is associated with a loss of body protein. Bed rest studies suggest that the reduction in the whole body protein synthesis (PS) rate should be ~15%. The objectives of this experiment were to test two hypotheses on astronauts and cosmonauts during long-duration (>3 mo) flights on MIR: that 1) the whole body PS rate will be reduced and 2) dietary intake and the PS rate should be increased postflight because protein accretion is occurring. The 15N glycine method was used for measuring whole body PS rate before, during, and after long-duration spaceflight on the Russian space station MIR. Dietary intake was measured together with the protein kinetics. Results show that subjects lost weight during flight (4.64 ± i.0 kg, P < 0.05). Energy intake was decreased inflight (2,854 ± 268 vs. 2,145 ± 190 kcal/day, n = 6, P < 0.05), as was the PS rate (226 ± 24 vs. 97 ± 11 g protein/day, n = 6, P < 0.01). The reduction in PS correlated with the reduction in energy intake (r2 = 0.86, P < 0.01, n = 6). Postflight energy intake and PS returned to, but were not increased over, the preflight levels. We conclude that the reduction in PS found was greater than predicted from ground-based bed rest experiments because of the shortfall in dietary intake. The expected postflight anabolic state with increases in dietary intake and PS did not occur during the first 2 wk after landing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1014-E1021
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 39-6
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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