Zh Evol Biokhim Fiziol. 2016 Jan-Feb;52(1):3-16.
[Article in Russian]


The review contains data on functional shifts in fishes, amphibians and birds caused by changes in the otolith system operation after stay under weightlessness conditions. These data are of theoretical and practical significance and are important to resolve some fundamental problems of vestibulogy. The analysis of the results of space experiments has shown that weightlessness conditions do not exert a substantial impact on formation and functional state of the otolith system in embryonic fishes, amphibians and birds developed during space flight. Weightlessness conditions do pot inhibit embryonic development of lower vertebrates but even have rather beneficial effect on it. This is consistent with conclusions concerning development of mammalian fetuses. The experimental results show that weightlessness can cause similar functional and behavioral vestibular shifts both in lower vertebrates and in mammals. For example, immediately after an orbital flight the vestibuloocular reflex in fish larvae and tadpoles (without lordosis) was stronger than in control individuals. A similar shift of the otolith reflex was observed in the majority of cosmonauts after short-term orbital flights. Immediately after landing adult terrestrial vertebrates, as well as human beings, exhibit lower activity levels, worse equilibrium and coordination of movements. Another interesting finding observed after landing of the cosmic apparatus was an unusual looping character of tadpole swimming. It is supposed that the unusual motor activity of animals as well as appearance of illusions in cosmonauts and astronauts after switching from 1 to 0 g have the same nature and are related to the change in character of otolith organs stimulation. Considering this similarity of vestibular reactions, using animals seems rather perspective. Besides it allows applying in experiments various invasive techniques.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / embryology
  • Amphibians / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Birds / embryology
  • Birds / physiology*
  • Fishes / embryology
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Space Flight
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology
  • Weightlessness / adverse effects*