Daily generation of a footward fluid shift attenuates ocular changes associated with head-down tilt bed rest

Justin S. Lawley, Gautam Babu, Sylvan L.J.E. Janssen, Lonnie G. Petersen, Christopher M. Hearon, Katrin A. Dias, Satyam Sarma, Michael A. Williams, Louis A Whitworth, Benjamin D. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Astronauts have presented with a constellation of visual changes referred to as spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS). However, neither have early markers of microgravity-induced optic remodeling been fully identified nor have countermeasures been developed. To identify early markers of SANS, we studied 10 subjects with optical coherence tomography and ultrasonography when upright and supine and again after 24 h of 6° head-down tilt (HDT) bed rest. Upon acute transition from the upright to the supine position, choroid area (2.24 ± 0.53 to 2.28 ± 0.52 mm2, P = 0.001) and volume (9.51 ± 2.08 to 9.73 ± 2.08 mm3, P = 0.002) increased. After 24 h of HDT bed rest, subfoveal choroidal thickness (372 ± 93 to 381 ± 95 mm, P = 0.02), choroid area (2.25 ± 0.52 to 2.33 ± 0.54 mm2, P = 0.08), and volume (9.64 ± 2.03 to 9.82 ± 2.08 mm3, P = 0.08) increased relative to the supine position. Subsequently, seven subjects spent 3 days in -6°HDT bed rest to assess whether low-level lower body negative pressure (LBNP) could prevent the observed choroidal engorgement during bed rest. Maintaining the -6° HDT position for 3 days caused choroid area (D0.11 mm2, P = 0.05) and volume (D0.45 mm3, P = 0.003) to increase. When participants also spent 8 h daily under -20 mmHg LBNP, choroid volume still increased, but substantially (40%) less than in the control trial (D0.27 mm3, P = 0.05). Moreover, the increase in choroid area was diminished (D0.03 mm2, P = 0.13), indicating that low-level LBNP attenuates the choroid expansion associated with 3 days of -6° HDT bed rest. These data suggest that low-level LBNP may be an effective countermeasure for SANS. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Choroid measurements appear to be sensitive to changes in gravitational gradients, as well as periods of head-down tilt (HDT) bed rest, suggesting that they are potential indicators of early ocular remodeling and could serve to evaluate the efficacy of countermeasures for SANS. Eight hours of lower body negative pressure (LBNP) daily attenuates the choroid expansion associated with 3 days of strict -6° HDT bed rest, indicating that LBNP may be an effective countermeasure for SANS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1220-1231
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Volume129
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Bed rest
  • Countermeasures
  • Lower body negative pressure
  • Ocular remodeling
  • Spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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