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Abstract

The space environment includes weightlessness and galactic cosmic radiation (GCR), both of which can have a negative impact on bone parameters. In particular, acute exposures to space-relevant doses (2 Gy or less) of simulated GCR lead to a rapid acceleration of bone resorption activity and suppression of bone forming osteoblasts, resulting in diminished bone mineral density (BMD), strength and altered microarchitecture. A key mechanism driving these changes may be a radiation-induced increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with attenuated reductions in bone parameters in astronauts, mice and elderly humans with corresponding reductions in circulating inflammatory cytokines. PURPOSE: To test the hypothesis thata diet high in omega-3 fatty acids will mitigate radiation-induced bone loss and reduce inflammatory cytokines in bone osteocytes and serum. METHODS: Adult (30- to 50-week-old) female Lgr5-EGFP C57BL/6 mice (n=4-6 per group) were acclimated to a corn oil/cellulose (COC) or fish oil/pectin (FOP) diet for 3 weeks. Animals were subsequently randomized to total body low dose high-energy radiation (0.1, 0.25, 0.5 Gy of 1000 MeV/n 56Fe at 25 cGy/min at Brookhaven National Lab) or non-irradiated control (sham) and euthanized 8 weeks later. MicroCT (ScanCo, Switzerland) analyses were performed to assess bone geometry and microarchitecture at the mid-shaft and distal end of the femur. Significance was assessed using an αof 0.10. RESULTS:There was a significant main effect of diet on mid-shaft femur periosteal diameter (Peri.Dm) (p=0.001) and endocortical diameter (Endo. Dm.) (p<0.001). The FOP diet led to larger Peri.Dm. (p<0.051 for all) and Endo.Dm. (p<0.41 for all) than did the COC diet at all doses. We could not detect an impact of 56Fe on cortical area or cancellous bone volume at the distal femur. Irradiation with 0.25 and 0.5 Gy in the FOP mice showed significant increases in distal femur volumetric BMD (p=0.014, p=0.063) and trabecular thickness (p=0.058, p=0.028), as compared with sham FOP mice. CONCLUSION: Though we did not detect a significant impact of radiation on bone parameters, these early data analyses suggest some modest benefits from a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids on cortical and cancellous bone parameters.

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