Markus Wehland

Microgravity-Related Changes in Bone Density and Treatment Options: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


  • Ronni Baran
  • ,
  • Markus Wehland
  • Herbert Schulz, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Martina Heer, IU International University of Applied Sciences, University of Bonn
  • ,
  • Manfred Infanger, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Daniela Grimm

Space travelers are exposed to microgravity (µg), which induces enhanced bone loss compared to the age-related bone loss on Earth. Microgravity promotes an increased bone turnover, and this obstructs space exploration. This bone loss can be slowed down by exercise on treadmills or resistive apparatus. The objective of this systematic review is to provide a current overview of the state of the art of the field of bone loss in space and possible treatment options thereof. A total of 482 unique studies were searched through PubMed and Scopus, and 37 studies met the eligibility criteria. The studies showed that, despite increased bone formation during µg, the increase in bone resorption was greater. Different types of exercise and pharmacological treatments with bisphosphonates, RANKL antibody (receptor activator of nuclear factor κβ ligand antibody), proteasome inhibitor, pan-caspase inhibitor, and interleukin-6 monoclonal antibody decrease bone resorption and promote bone formation. Additionally, recombinant irisin, cell-free fat extract, cyclic mechanical stretch-treated bone mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes, and strontium-containing hydroxyapatite nanoparticles also show some positive effects on bone loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8650
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

    Research areas

  • Bone Density, Bone Diseases, Metabolic, Bone Resorption, Bone and Bones, Humans, Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B, Space Flight, Weightlessness/adverse effects

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