Oral administration of bovine collagen peptide (CP) combined with calcium citrate (CC) has been found to inhibit bone loss in ovariectomized rats. However, the protective effects of CP and CP–CC against bone loss have not been investigated in a tail-suspension simulated microgravity (SMG) rat model. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats (n
= 40) were randomly divided into five groups (n
= 8): a control group with normal gravity, a SMG control group, and three SMG groups that underwent once-daily gastric gavage with CP (750 mg/kg body weight), CC (75 mg/kg body weight) or CP–CC (750 and 75 mg/kg body weight, respectively) for 28 days. After sacrifice, the femurs were analyzed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, three-point bending mechanical tests, microcomputed tomography, and serum bone metabolic markers. Neither CP nor CP–CC treatment significantly inhibited bone loss in SMG rats, as assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and three-point bending mechanical tests. However, both CP and CP–CC treatment were associated with partial prevention of the hind limb unloading-induced deterioration of bone microarchitecture, as demonstrated by improvements in trabecular number and trabecular separation. CP–CC treatment increased serum osteocalcin levels. Dietary supplementation with CP or CP–CC may represent an adjunct strategy to reduce the risk of fracture in astronauts.
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