Neural readaptation to earth's gravity following return from space

Richard Boyle, Allen F. Mensinger, Kaoru Yoshida, Shiro Usui, Anthony Intravaia, Timothy Tricas, Stephen M. Highstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The consequence of exposure to microgravity on the otolith organs was studied by recording the responses of vestibular nerve afferents supplying the utricular otolith organ to inertial accelerations in four toadfish, Opsanus tau, sequentially for 5 days following two National Aeronautics and Space Administration shuttle orbital flights. Within the first day postflight, the magnitude of response to an applied translation was on average three times greater than for controls. The reduced gravitational acceleration in orbit apparently resulted in an upregulation of the sensitivity of utricular afferents. By 30 h postflight, responses were statistically similar to control. The time course of return to normal afferent sensitivity parallels the reported decrease in vestibular disorientation in astronauts following return from space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2118-2122
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This workshop was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. No authors or workshop participants have any personal, financial, or institutional interest in any of the drugs, materials, or devices described in this article.


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