Intramuscular lipid concentration increased in localized regions of the lumbar muscles following 60-day bedrest

De Martino, Enrico, Hides, Julie, Elliott, James M., Hoggarth, Mark A., Zange, Jochen, Lindsay, Kirsty, Debuse, Dorothée, Winnard, Andrew, Beard, David, Cook, Jonathan A, Salomoni, Sauro E., Weber, Tobias, Scott, Jonathan, Hodges, Paul W. and Caplan, Nick (2022) Intramuscular lipid concentration increased in localized regions of the lumbar muscles following 60-day bedrest. The Spine Journal, 22 (4). pp. 616-628. ISSN 1529-9430

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Prolonged bedrest induces accumulation of intramuscular lipid concentration (ILC) in the lumbar musculature; however, spatial distribution of ILC has not been determined. Artificial gravity (AG) mitigates some adaptations induced by 60-day bedrest by creating a head-to-feet force while participants are in a supine position.

To quantify the spatial distribution of accumulation of ILC in the lumbar musculature after 60-day bedrest, and whether this can be mitigated by AG exposure.

Prospective longitudinal study.

Twenty-four healthy individuals (8 females) participated in the study: Eight received 30 min continuous AG (cAG); Eight received 6 × 5min AG (iAG), interspersed with rests; Eight were not exposed to AG (CRTL).

From 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), axial images were selected to assess lumbar multifidus (LM), lumbar erector spinae (LES), quadratus lumborum (QL), and psoas major (PM) muscles from L1/L2 to L5/S1 intervertebral disc levels. Chemical shift-based 2‐echo lipid/water Dixon sequence was used to measure tissue composition. Each lumbar muscle was segmented into four equal quartiles (from medial to lateral).

Participants arrived at the facility for the baseline data collection before undergoing a 60-day strict 6° head-down tilt (HDT) bedrest period. MRI of the lumbopelvic region was conducted at baseline and Day-59 of bedrest. Participants performed all activities, including hygiene, in 6° HDT and were discouraged from moving excessively or unnecessarily.

At the L4/L5 and L5/S1 intervertebral disc levels, 60-day bedrest induced a greater increase in ILC in medial and lateral regions (∼+4%) of the LM than central regions (∼+2%; P<0.05). A smaller increase in ILC was induced in the lateral region of LES (∼+1%) at L1/L2 and L2/L3 than at the centro-medial region (∼+2%; P<0.05). There was no difference between CRTL and intervention groups.

Inhomogeneous spatial distribution of accumulation of ILC was found in the lumbar musculature after 60-day bedrest. These findings might reflect pathophysiological mechanisms related to muscle disuse and contribute to localized lumbar spine dysfunction. Altered spatial distribution of ILC may impair lumbar spine function after prolonged body unloading, which could increase injury risk to vulnerable soft tissues, such as the lumbar intervertebral discs. These novel results may represent a new biomarker of lumbar deconditioning for astronauts, bedridden, sedentary individuals, or those with chronic back pain. Changes are potentially modifiable but not by the AG protocols tested here.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The AGBRESA study was funded by the German Aerospace Center, the European Space Agency (contract number: 4000113871/15/NL/PG), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (contract number: 80JSC018P0078). The study was performed at the “:envihab” research facility of the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine. Funding for this ESA-selected project (ESA-HSO-U-LE-0629) was received from the STFC/UK Space Agency (ST/R005753/1).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Short-arm centrifugation, Dixon sequence, Fatty infiltration, Adipose tissue, Magnetic resonance imaging, Lumbar multifidus, AGBRESA study, Space flight analog
Subjects: B100 Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2021 09:04
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2023 08:00

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