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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2004 Oct 15;153(1):69-78.

Behavioural consequences of hypergravity in developing rats.

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Department of Medical Physiology, University of Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan, 1, Groningen 9713 AV, The Netherlands.


Gravity represents a stable reference for the nervous system. When the individual is increasing in size and weight, gravity may influence several aspects of the sensory and motor developments. To clarify this role, we studied age-dependent modifications of several exteroceptive and proprioceptive reflexes in five groups of rats conceived, born and reared in hypergravity (2 g). Rats were transferred to normal gravity (1 g) at P5 (post-natal day 5), P10, P15, P21, and P27. Aspects of neural development and adaptation to 1 g were assessed until P40. Hypergravity induced a delay in growth and a retardation in the development of contact-righting, air-righting, and negative geotaxis. However, we found an advance in eye opening by about 2-3 days in HG-P5 and HG-P10 rats and an increase in grip-time. No differences were found in tail and grasp reflexes. Our results show that hypergravity leads to a retarded development of motor aspects which are mainly dependent upon the vestibular system.

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