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the effects of gravity on the circadian timing systemAll vertebrates have a physiological control system that regulates the timing of the rhythms of their daily life. Dysfunction of this system, the circadian timing system (CTS), adversely affects an organism's ability to respond to environmental challenges and has been linked to physiological and psychological disorders. Exposure to altered gravitational environments (the microgravity of space and hyperdynamic environments produced via centrifugation) produces changes in both the functioning of the CTS and the rhythmic variables it controls. The earliest record of primate rhythms in a spaceflight environment come from Biosatellite III. The subject, a pig-tailed macaque, showed a loss of synchronization of the body temperature rhythm and a fragmented sleep-wake cycle. Alterations in the rhythm of body temperature were also seen in rhesus macaques flown on COSMOS 1514. Squirrel monkeys exposed to chronic centrifugation showed an initial decrease in the amplitude and mean of their body temperature and activity rhythms. In a microgravity environment, Squirrel monkeys on Spacelab-3 showed a reduction in the mean and amplitude of their feeding rhythms. Since 1992 we have had the opportunity to participate on three US/Russian sponsored biosatellite missions on which a total of six juvenile male rhesus macaques were flown. These animals uniformly exhibited delays in the phasing of their temperature rhythms, but not their heart rate or activity rhythms during spaceflight. There was also a tendency for changes in waveform mean and amplitude. These data suggest that the spaceflight environment may have a differential effect on the different oscillators controlling different rhythmic variables. Ongoing studies are examining the effects of +G on the CTS. The long-term presence of humans in space highlights the need for effective countermeasures to gravitational effects on the CTS.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Fuller, Charles A.
(California Univ. Davis, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20000020485Analytic PrimaryProceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop