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Brain Res Bull. 1997;43(3):289-94.

Altered behaviour in hamsters conceived and born in hypergravity.

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Vestibular Department ENT, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We studied vestibular function in 37 hamsters (1 month old) conceived and born in either hypergravity (n = 21) or normal gravity (n = 16). Four groups were made: (1) HL group: 20 weeks in 2.5 G and 14 weeks in 1 G; (2) HS group: 4 weeks in 2.5 G and 30 weeks in 1 G; (3) CON group: 34 weeks in 1 G; and (4) ROT group: 4 weeks in 1 G, 16 weeks in rotation in 1 G, at the centre of the centrifuge and 14 weeks 1 G. When the hamsters were 4 weeks old, their locomotor activity, swimming ability, and air-righting was assessed. We found that HL and HS hamsters had no disturbances during locomotion in 1 G but their swimming ability was disturbed (swimming underwater, circling, and decreased speed of swimming). The HL hamsters showed less activity during 2.5 G and showed fewer correct air-rightings than the other groups. Differences between groups in swimming ability and the number of correct air-righting responses remained even after 3 months of normal gravity. Based on these findings, we suggest that the persistent behavioural disturbances are caused by the embryonal development of the hamsters in a hypergravity environment. Furthermore, hypergravity and rotation each have a different effect on behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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