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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Dec;89(6):2318-24.

Effects of prenatal spaceflight on vestibular responses in neonatal rats.

Author information

  • 1Life Sciences Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035, USA. aronca@mail.arc.nasa.gov
  • 2NASA ARC
  • 3IN U, Bloomington

Abstract

Ten pregnant Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) were flown for 11 days on board the NASA space shuttle from gestational day 9 (launch) until gestational day 20 (landing) of the rats' 22-day pregnancy. After the birth of the pups, vestibular responses were analyzed from postnatal day (P) 0 until P5. In the first test, P0 neonates were supported on a platform in a side-lying position. Skyward head movements (i.e., movements performed against the gravity vector) were more frequent than head movements toward Earth in both flight and control neonates. In the second test, the contact-righting reflex, composed of stereotyped movements that rotate the body from supine to prone on a solid surface, was analyzed in P0 neonates. The frequency and latency of contact-righting responses did not differ in flight and control neonates. In the third test, vestibular head righting, with tactile and proprioceptive cues removed, was tested in neonates on P1, P3, and P5 by using a water-immersion test. Righting responses were observed less frequently in P1 and P3 flight neonates compared with controls. However, this deficit was transient, as evidenced by complete response recovery on P5. Collectively, these findings provide evidence for a selective disruption of vestibular-mediated responses after prenatal exposure to spaceflight.

PMID:
11090585
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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