Elevated interstitial fluid volume in soleus muscles unweighted by spaceflight or suspension

E. J. Henriksen, M. E. Tischler, C. R. Woodman, K. A. Munoz, C. S. Stump, C. R. Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Recent evidence by Kandarian et al. (J. Appl. Physiol. 71: 910-914, 1991) indicates that prolonged (28 days) unweighting of the rat soleus by hindlimb suspension results in a substantial increase in interstitial fluid volume (IFV), as defined by the inulin space. The lack of any significant difference in absolute IFV values between unweighted and control groups suggested that this elevated IFV was a consequence of muscle atrophy. Using young female rats, we directly tested this hypothesis by comparing the early responses of soleus muscle weight and IFV with unweighting by tail-cast suspension or actual exposure to microgravity during spaceflight. Significant differences from control were first observed after 3 days of suspension unweighting for soleus wet weight (-14%; P < 0.01) and IFV (+35%; P < 0.01) and increased further after 6 days (-32% and +53%, respectively; both P < 0.001). After 5.4 days of spaceflight, soleus wet weight was 38% less and IFV was 52% greater than control (both P < 0.001). A highly significant negative correlation between soleus wet weight and IFV for all groups was observed (r = -0.70, P < 0.001). These data indicate that elevated soleus IFV develops at an early time point during unweighting and that there is a direct relationship between the magnitude of this increase in IFV and the extent of muscle atrophy. This relationship also exists in soleus muscles unweighted by exposure to a microgravity environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1650-1653
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993


  • extracellular space
  • microgravity
  • muscle atrophy
  • rat skeletal muscle
  • unweighting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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