Background: Physiological changes occur in man during space missions also at the renal level. Proteinuria was hypothesized for space missions but research data are missing. Methods: Urinary albumin, as an index of proteinuria, and other variables were analyzed in 4 astronauts during space missions onboard the MIR station and on the ground (control). Mission duration before first urine collection in the four astronauts was 4, 26, 26, and 106 days, respectively. On the ground, data were collected 2 months before mission in two astronauts, 6 months after in the other astronauts. A total of twenty-two 24-hour urine collections were obtained in space (n per astronaut = 1–14) and on the ground (n per astronaut = 2–12). Urinary albumin was measured by radioimmunoassay. For each astronaut, mean of data in space and on the ground was defined as individual average. Results: The individual averages of 24 h urinary albumin were lower in space than on the ground in all astronauts; the difference was significant (mean ± SD, space and on the ground = 3.41 ± 0.56 and 4.70 ± 1.20 mg/24 h, p = 0.017). Dietary protein intake and 24-hour urinary urea were not significantly different between space and on the ground. Conclusions: Urinary albumin excretion is low during space mission compared to data on the ground before or after mission. Low urinary albumin excretion could be another effect of exposure to weightlessness (microgravity).

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