Review: Beta Blockers in Space

Abstract

Sympathetic neural influence on bone metabolism in microgravity (Review).

Bone loss is one of the most important complications for astronauts who are exposed to long-term microgravity in space and also for bedridden elderly people. Recent studies have indicated that the sympathetic nervous system plays a role in bone metabolism. This paper reviews findings concerning with sympathetic influences on bone metabolism to hypothesize the mechanism how sympathetic neural functions are related to bone loss in microgravity. Animal studies have suggested that leptin stimulates hypothalamus increasing sympathetic outflow to bone and enhances bone resorption through noradrenaline and β-adrenoreceptors in bone. In humans, even though there have been some controversial findings, use of β-adrenoblockers has been reported to be beneficial for prevention of osteoporosis and bone fracture. On the other hand, microneurographically-recorded sympathetic nerve activity was enhanced by exposure to microgravity in space as well as dry immersion or long-term bed rest to simulate microgravity. The same sympathetic activity became higher in elderly people whose bone mass becomes generally reduced. Our recent findings indicated a significant correlation between muscle sympathetic nerve activity and urinary deoxypyridinoline as a specific marker measuring bone resorption. Based on these findings we would like to propose a following hypothesis concerning the sympathetic involvement in the mechanism of bone loss in microgravity: An exposure to prolonged microgravity may enhance sympathetic neural traffic not only to muscle but also to bone. This sympathetic enhancement increases plasma noradrenaline level and inhibits osteogenesis and facilitates bone resorption through β-adrenoreceptors in bone to facilitate bone resorption to reduce bone mass. The use of β-adrenoblockers to prevent bone loss in microgravity may be reasonable.

Mano T, Nishimura N, Iwase S
Acta Physiol Hung Dec 2010
PMID: 21138811

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