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Neurosci Lett. 2012 Nov 7;529(2):108-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.09.043. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Behavioral responses to partial-gravity conditions in rats.

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Tokyo Medical and Dental University Graduate School, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8549, Japan.


The effects of microgravity or hypergravity on living organisms have been studied extensively; however, thus far no studies have addressed the effects of "partial-gravity", that is, the low-gravity levels between the unit gravity (1G) on Earth and zero gravity (0 G) in space. The purpose of the present study was to examine behavioral responses in rats under partial-gravity conditions. Rat behavior was monitored by video cameras during parabolic flights. The flight trajectory was customized in order to generate graded levels of partial gravity. Gravity-dependent behavior patterns were observed in rats. In the conditions of 0.4 G through 0.2G, rats showed startle and crouching. Hindlimb stretching emerged at 0.15 G and was more frequently observed toward 0.01 G. Different thresholds may exist for emotional and balance/posture-related behaviors.

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