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Altered gravitational forces affect the development of the static vestibuloocular reflex in fish (Oreochromis mossambicus)

Altered gravitational forces affect the development of the static vestibuloocular reflex in fish (Oreochromis mossambicus)

Journal of Neurobiology 46(1): 59-72

Young fish (Oreochromis mossambicus) were exposed to microgravity (micro g) for 9 to 10 days during space missions STS-55 and STS-84, or to hypergravity (hg) for 9 days. Young animals (stages 11-12), which had not yet developed the roll-induced static vestibuloocular reflex (rVOR) at micro g- and hg-onset, and older ones (stages 14-16), which had already developed the rVOR, were used. For several weeks afterwards, the rVOR was recorded after termination of mug and hg. Here are the main results: (1) In the stage 11-12 fish, the rVOR gain (response angle/roll angle) measured for roll angles 15 degrees, 30 degrees, and 45 degrees was not affected by microgravity if animals were rolled from the horizontal to the inclined posture, but was increased significantly if animals were rolled in the opposite manner. The rVOR amplitude (maximal eye movement during a complete 360 degrees roll) of micro g animals increased significantly by 25% compared to 1g controls during the first postflight week, but decreased to the control level during the second postflight week. Microgravity had no effect in stage 14-16 fish on either rVOR gain or amplitude. (2) After 3g exposure, both rVOR gain and amplitude were significantly reduced for both stage 11-12 and stage 15 fish. One g readaptation was completed during the second post-3g week. Hypergravity at 2 or 2.5 g had no effect. (3) Hypergravity at all three levels tested (2g, 2.5g, and 3g) accelerated the morphological development as assessed by external morphological markers. Exposure to micro g- or 3g-periods during an early developmental period modifies the physiological properties of the neuronal network underlying the static rVOR; in susceptible developmental stages, these modifications include sensitization by microgravity and desensitization by hypergravity.

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Accession: 045207268

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PMID: 11108616

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