The regulation of rat activity following exposure to hyperdynamic fields

Physiologist. 1993;36(1 Suppl):S121-2.


The microgravity of spaceflight and the hyperdynamic fields produced via centrifugation have allowed researchers to examine the effect of altered gravitational environments on the regulation of physiological systems. In previous studies, we have discussed the importance of homeostatic and circadian mechanisms for the regulation of physiological systems such as body temperature and heart rate. Rats exposed to a chronic 2G field exhibited lower mean daily body temperature and heart rate. The homeostatic component of regulation for body temperature and heart rate adapts to a new steady state after 5-6 days. However, the circadian rhythm of body temperature and heart rate became severely depressed and did not recover for approximately 7-10 days. The measurements of body temperature and heart rate suggest an adaptation of homeostatic and circadian regulatory mechanisms following 10 days exposure to 2G. However, an important function of physiological homeostasis is to respond to environmental stressors. An important question thus becomes whether the regulation of body temperature and heart rate has sufficiently recovered to respond to an environmental challenge separate from that of the hyperdynamic field. In this study, a high frequency light/dark cycle (LD 3:3) was provided for 24 hours as an environmental challenge to assess the recovery of homeostatic and circadian regulation. Previous studies have demonstrated that high frequency light dark cycles are highly effective for testing homeostatic and circadian components of physiological regulation in monkeys and rats. For example, the nocturnal rat exhibited a homeostatic increase in body temperature during the dark periods and a decrease during the light periods. In addition, the magnitude of the body temperature response exhibits a time of day variation demonstrating the effect on circadian regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Centrifugation
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Hypergravity / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Photoperiod*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar