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      DI-5-Cuffs: Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Proteoglycan and Water Content Changes in Humans after Five Days of Dry Immersion to Simulate Microgravity

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          Abstract

          Most astronauts experience back pain after spaceflight, primarily located in the lumbar region. Intervertebral disc herniations have been observed after real and simulated microgravity. Spinal deconditioning after exposure to microgravity has been described, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. The dry immersion (DI) model of microgravity was used with eighteen male volunteers. Half of the participants wore thigh cuffs as a potential countermeasure. The spinal changes and intervertebral disc (IVD) content changes were investigated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analyses with T1-T2 mapping sequences. IVD water content was estimated by the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), with proteoglycan content measured using MRI T1-mapping sequences centered in the nucleus pulposus. The use of thigh cuffs had no effect on any of the spinal variables measured. There was significant spinal lengthening for all of the subjects. The ADC and IVD proteoglycan content both increased significantly with DI (7.34 ± 2.23% and 10.09 ± 1.39%, respectively; mean ± standard deviation), p < 0.05). The ADC changes suggest dynamic and rapid water diffusion inside IVDs, linked to gravitational unloading. Further investigation is needed to determine whether similar changes occur in the cervical IVDs. A better understanding of the mechanisms involved in spinal deconditioning with spaceflight would assist in the development of alternative countermeasures to prevent IVD herniation.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Proteoglycan form and function: A comprehensive nomenclature of proteoglycans

          We provide a comprehensive classification of the proteoglycan gene families and respective protein cores. This updated nomenclature is based on three criteria: Cellular and subcellular location, overall gene/protein homology, and the utilization of specific protein modules within their respective protein cores. These three signatures were utilized to design four major classes of proteoglycans with distinct forms and functions: the intracellular, cell-surface, pericellular and extracellular proteoglycans. The proposed nomenclature encompasses forty-three distinct proteoglycan-encoding genes and many alternatively-spliced variants. The biological functions of these four proteoglycan families are critically assessed in development, cancer and angiogenesis, and in various acquired and genetic diseases where their expression is aberrant.
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            New in vivo measurements of pressures in the intervertebral disc in daily life.

            We conducted intradiscal pressure measurements with one volunteer performing various activities normally found in daily life, sports, and spinal therapy. The goal of this study was to measure intradiscal pressure to complement earlier data from Nachemson with dynamic and long-term measurements over a broad range of activities. Loading of the spine still is not well understood. The most important in vivo data are from pioneering intradiscal pressure measurements recorded by Nachemson during the 1960s. Since that time, there have been few data to corroborate or dispute those findings. Under sterile surgical conditions, a pressure transducer with a diameter of 1.5 mm was implanted in the nucleus pulposus of a nondegenerated L4-L5 disc of a male volunteer 45-years-old and weighing 70 kg. Pressure was recorded with a telemetry system during a period of approximately 24 hours for various lying positions; sitting positions in a chair, in an armchair, and on a pezziball (ergonomic sitting ball); during sneezing, laughing, walking, jogging, stair climbing, load lifting during hydration over 7 hours of sleeping, and others. The following values and more were measured: lying prone, 0.1 MPa; lying laterally, 0.12 MPa; relaxed standing, 0.5 MPa; standing flexed forward, 1.1 MPa; sitting unsupported, 0.46 MPa; sitting with maximum flexion, 0.83 MPa; nonchalant sitting, 0.3 MPa; and lifting a 20-kg weight with round flexed back, 2.3 MPa; with flexed knees, 1.7 MPa; and close to the body, 1.1 MPa. During the night, pressure increased from 0.1 to 0.24 MPa. Good correlation was found with Nachemson's data during many exercises, with the exception of the comparison of standing and sitting or of the various lying positions. Notwithstanding the limitations related to the single-subject design of this study, these differences may be explained by the different transducers used. It can be cautiously concluded that the intradiscal pressure during sitting may in fact be less than that in erect standing, that muscle activity increases pressure, that constantly changing position is important to promote flow of fluid (nutrition) to the disc, and that many of the physiotherapy methods studied are valid, but a number of them should be re-evaluated.
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              Long-term dry immersion: review and prospects.

              Dry immersion, which is a ground-based model of prolonged conditions of microgravity, is widely used in Russia but is less well known elsewhere. Dry immersion involves immersing the subject in thermoneutral water covered with an elastic waterproof fabric. As a result, the immersed subject, who is freely suspended in the water mass, remains dry. For a relatively short duration, the model can faithfully reproduce most physiological effects of actual microgravity, including centralization of body fluids, support unloading, and hypokinesia. Unlike bed rest, dry immersion provides a unique opportunity to study the physiological effects of the lack of a supporting structure for the body (a phenomenon we call 'supportlessness'). In this review, we attempt to provide a detailed description of dry immersion. The main sections of the paper discuss the changes induced by long-term dry immersion in the neuromuscular and sensorimotor systems, fluid-electrolyte regulation, the cardiovascular system, metabolism, blood and immunity, respiration, and thermoregulation. The long-term effects of dry immersion are compared with those of bed rest and actual space flight. The actual and potential uses of dry immersion are discussed in the context of fundamental studies and applications for medical support during space flight and terrestrial health care.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                ijms
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                MDPI
                1422-0067
                26 May 2020
                June 2020
                : 21
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institut NeuroMyogène, Faculté de Médecine Lyon Est, 69008 Lyon, France; claude.gharib@ 123456univ-lyon1.fr
                [2 ]Centre de Recherche Clinique, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d’Angers, 49100 Angers, France; Nastassia.Navasiolava@ 123456chu-angers.fr (N.N.); macustaud@ 123456chu-angers.fr (C.M.-A.)
                [3 ]Siemens Healthinners, Service Application, 93210 Saint-Denis, France; karen.mkhitaryan@ 123456siemens-healthineers.com
                [4 ]Olea Medical, Service Application, 13600 La Ciotat, France; emmanuelle.jouan@ 123456olea-medical.com
                [5 ]Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L3G1, Canada; kathryn.zuj@ 123456gmail.com
                [6 ]CNES, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, 75001 Paris, France; guillemette.gauquelinkoch@ 123456cnes.fr
                [7 ]MitoVasc UMR INSERM 1083-CNRS 6015, Université d’Angers, 49100 Angers, France
                Author notes
                Article
                ijms-21-03748
                10.3390/ijms21113748
                7312650
                32466473
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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