Journal Article Feasibility of a Short-Arm Centrifuge for Mouse Hypergravity Experiments

Morita, Hironobu  ,  Obata, Koji  ,  Abe, Chikara  ,  Shiba, Dai  ,  Shirakawa, Masaki  ,  Kudo, Takashi  ,  Takahashi, Satoru

10 ( 7 )  , p.e0133981 , 2015-07 , Public Library of Science
To elucidate the pure impact of microgravity on small mammals despite uncontrolled factors that exist in the International Space Station, it is necessary to construct a 1 g environment in space. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has developed a novel mouse habitat cage unit that can be installed in the Cell Biology Experiment Facility in the Kibo module of the International Space Station. The Cell Biology Experiment Facility has a short-arm centrifuge to produce artificial 1 g gravity in space for mouse experiments. However, the gravitational gradient formed inside the rearing cage is larger when the radius of gyration is shorter; this may have some impact on mice. Accordingly, biological responses to hypergravity induced by a short-arm centrifuge were examined and compared with those induced by a long-arm centrifuge. Hypergravity induced a significant Fos expression in the central nervous system, a suppression of body mass growth, an acute and transient reduction in food intake, and impaired vestibulomotor coordination. There was no difference in these responses between mice raised in a short-arm centrifuge and those in a long-arm centrifuge. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using a short-arm centrifuge for mouse experiments.

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