NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
tolerance of snakes to hypergravitySensitivity of carotid blood flow to +Gz (head-to-tail) acceleration was studied in six species of snakes hypothesized to show varied adaptive cardiovascular responses to gravity. Blood flow in the proximal carotid artery was measured in 15 snakes before, during and following stepwise increments of +0.25Gz force produced on a 2.4 m diameter centrifuge. During centrifugation each snake was confined to a straight position within an individually- fitted acrylic tube with the head facing the center of rotation. We measured the centrifugal force at the tail of the snake in order to quantify the maximum intensity of force gradient promoting antero-posterior pooling of blood. Tolerance to increased gravity was quantified as the acceleration force at which carotid blood flow ceased. This parameter varied according to the gravitational adaptation of species defined by their ecology and behavior. At the extremes, carotid blood flow decreased in response to increasing gravity and approached zero near +1Gz in aquatic and ground-dwelling species, whereas in climbing species carotid flow was maintained at forces in excess of +2Gz. Surprisingly, tolerant (arboreal) species withstood hypergravic forces of +2 to +3 G. for periods up to 1 h without cessation of carotid blood flow or apparent loss of consciousness. Data suggest that relatively tight skin of the tolerant species provides a natural antigravity suit which is of prime importance in counteracting Gz stress on blood circulation.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Lillywhite, H. B.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Ballard, R. E.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Hargens, A. R.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology Meeting(San Francisco, CA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 199-14-12-04
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.