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Cardiovascular responses of semi-arboreal snakes to chronic, intermittent hypergravityCardiovascular functions were studied in semi-arboreal rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) following long-term, intermittent exposure to +1.5 Gz (head-to-tail acceleration) on a centrifuge. Snakes were held in a nearly straight position within horizontal plastic tubes during periods of centrifugation. Centrifugal acceleration, therefore, subjected snakes to a linear force gradient with the maximal force being experienced at the tail. Compared to non-centrifuged controls, Gz-acclimated snakes showed greater increases of heart rate during head-up tilt or acceleration, greater sensitivity of arterial pressure to circulating catecholamines, higher blood levels of corticosterone, and higher blood ratios of prostaglandin F 2 alpha/prostaglandin E2. Cardiovascular tolerance to increased gravity during graded Gz acceleration was measured as the maximum (caudal) acceleration force at which carotid arterial blood flow became null. When such tolerances were adjusted for effects of body size and other continuous variables incorporated into an analysis of covariance, the difference between the adjusted mean values of control and acclimated snakes (2.37 and 2.84 Gz, respectively) corresponded closely to the 0.5 G difference between the acclimation G (1.5) and Earth gravity (1.0). As in other vertebrates, cardiovascular tolerance to Gz stress tended to be increased by acclimation, short body length, high arterial pressure, and comparatively large blood volume. Voluntary body movements were important for promoting carotid blood flow at the higher levels of Gz stress.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Lillywhite, H. B. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field CA United States)
Ballard, R. E.
Hargens, A. R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology
Volume: 166
ISSN: 0174-1578
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Cardiopulmonary