Previous experiments have shown that skeletal unloading resulting from exposure to microgravity induces osteopenia in rats. In maturing rats, this is primarily a function of reduced formation, rather than increased resorption. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) stimulates bone formation by increasing collagen synthesis by osteoblasts. The ability of IGF-I to prevent osteopenia otherwise caused by spaceflight was investigated in 12 rats flown for 10 days aboard the Space Shuttle, STS-77. The effect IGF-I had on cortical bone metabolism was generally anabolic. For example, humerus periosteal bone formation increased a significant 37.6 % for the spaceflight animals treated with IGF-I, whereas the ground controls increased 24.7%. This increase in humeral bone formation at the periosteum is a result of an increased percent mineralizing perimeter (%Min.Pm), rather tha
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