Body composition and metabolic changes during a 520-day mission simulation to Mars

F. Strollo, C. Macchi, I. Eberini, M. A. Masini, M. Botta, G. Vassilieva, I. Nichiporuk, M. Monici, D. Santucci, F. Celotti, P. Magni, M. Ruscica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The “Mars-500 project” allowed to evaluate the changes in psychological/physiological adaptation over a prolonged confinement, in order to gather information for future missions. Here, we evaluated the impact of confinement and isolation on body composition, glucose metabolism/insulin resistance and adipokine levels. Methods: The “Mars-500 project” consisted of 520 consecutive days of confinement from June 3, 2010 to Nov 4, 2011. The crew was composed of six male subjects (three Russians, two Europeans, and one Chinese) with a median age of 31 years (range 27–38 years). Results: During the 520-day confinement, total body mass and BMI progressively decreased, reaching a significant difference at the end (417 days) of the observation period (− 9.2 and − 5.5%, respectively). Fat mass remained unchanged. A progressive and significant increase of fasting plasma glucose was observed between 249 and 417 days (+ 10/+ 17% vs baseline), with a further increase at the end of confinement (up to + 30%). Median plasma insulin showed a non-significant early increment (60 days; + 86%). Total adiponectin halved (− 47%) 60 days after hatch closure, remaining at this nadir (− 51%) level for a further 60 days. High molecular weight adiponectin remained significantly lower from 60 to 168 days. Conclusions: Based on these data, countermeasures may be envisioned to balance the potentially harmful effects of prolonged confinement, including a better exercise program, with accurate monitoring of (1) the individual activity and (2) the relationship between body composition and metabolic derangement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1273
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • "Mars-500 project"
  • Adiponectin
  • Chronic stress
  • Gender
  • Insulin resistance
  • Male
  • Mars mission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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