Contractile behavior of the gastrocnemius medialis muscle during running in simulated hypogravity

Charlotte Richter*, Bjoern Braunstein, Benjamin Staeudle, Julia Attias, Alexander Suess, Tobias Weber, Katya N Mileva, Joern Rittweger, David A Green, Kirsten Albracht

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Vigorous exercise countermeasures in microgravity can largely attenuate muscular degeneration, albeit the extent of applied loading is key for the extent of muscle wasting. Running on the International Space Station is usually performed with maximum loads of 70% body weight (0.7 g). However, it has not been investigated how the reduced musculoskeletal loading affects muscle and series elastic element dynamics, and thereby force and power generation. Therefore, this study examined the effects of running on the vertical treadmill facility, a ground-based analog, at simulated 0.7 g on gastrocnemius medialis contractile behavior. The results reveal that fascicle-series elastic element behavior differs between simulated hypogravity and 1 g running. Whilst shorter peak series elastic element lengths at simulated 0.7 g appear to be the result of lower muscular and gravitational forces acting on it, increased fascicle lengths and decreased velocities could not be anticipated, but may inform the development of optimized running training in hypogravity. However, whether the alterations in contractile behavior precipitate musculoskeletal degeneration warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalNPJ Microgravity
Pages (from-to)2-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 09.08.2021


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