Effects of a hypergravity environment on cortical bone elasticity in rats

S. S. Kohles, J. R. Bowers, A. C. Vailas, R. Vanderby

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15 Scopus citations


There is considerable interest in determining whether hypergravity can be used as a countermeasure for microgravity-induced bone loss. This study was conducted on 20 immature male rats in order to investigate possible elastic adaptations of cortical bone in rapidly growing rats exposed to chronic hypergravity. Ten rats were continuously centrifuged for 14 days at twice gravitational acceleration (2G) on a 12.75 foot radius centrifuge and 10 rats concurrently acted as stationary controls. The effect of hypergravity on the elastic characteristics of cortical bone was quantified via ultrasonic wave propagation. Propagation velocities of longitudinal and shear waves were measured through cubic cortical specimens from the posterior femoral diaphyses. Density was measured with an Archimedes' technique. The orthotropic elastic properties were calculated and used to compare the difference between groups. Results showed an average increase in both the Young's moduli (E(ii), + 2.2%) and shear moduli (G(ij), + 4.3%) with a statistically significant increase only in G12 (+ 5.7%, P = 0.046). The ratio of transverse to axial strain (Poisson's ratio, v(ij)) demonstrated statistically significant changes in v12, v21, v13, and v31 (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that although slight elastic changes were incurred via a hyper-gravity environment, the treatment level or duration in this study do not dramatically perturb the normal elastic behavior of cortical bone and that dramatic biomechanical differences noted in previous studies were due more to structural changes than material elasticity changes. Hypergravity applied post facto to a microgravity environment would offer further illucidation of this method as treatment for a degenerative spaceflight experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-217
Number of pages4
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical bone
  • Elastic properties
  • Hypergravity
  • Rats
  • Ultrasonic elasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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