Author(s): Hargens AR, Tipton CM, Gollnick PD, Mubarak SJ, Tucker BJ,
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Abstract Head-down tilt is considered an effective experimental model to simulate weightlessness. To determine the acute effects of simulated weightlessness on transcapillary fluid balance, tissue fluid shifts, muscle function, and triceps surae reflex time, eight supine subjects were tilted 5 degrees head down for 8 h. A cephalic fluid shift from the legs was indicated by facial edema, nasal congestion, increased urine flow, decreased creatinine excretion, reduced calf girth, and decreased lower leg volume. As measured by wick catheters inserted under local anesthesia, interstitial fluid pressure in the tibialis anterior muscle (4.6 +/- 0.6 mmHg) and subcutaneous tissue (0.6 +/- 0.5 mmHg) of the lower leg fell significantly to -2.8 +/- 0.5 and -3.8 +/- 0.4 mmHg, respectively. Other transcapillary pressures (capillary and interstitial fluid colloid osmotic pressures) were relatively unchanged. Needle-biopsy specimens, obtained just before and after tilt, indicated that total water content of soleus muscle was unchanged during 8 h of head-down tilt. After head-down tilt, isometric strength and isokinetic strength of the plantar flexors were unchanged. Triceps surae reflex time associated with plantar flexion movement slowed slightly after the tilt maneuver. Collectively these results demonstrated a dehydration effect of head-down tilt on muscle and subcutaneous tissues of the lower leg that may affect muscle function.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Aeronautics & Aerospace Engineering