Ocular and perceptual responses to linear acceleration in microgravity: Alterations in otolith function on the COSMOS and Neurolab flights

Steven T. Moore, Gilles Clément, Mingjai Dai, Theodore Raphan, David Solomon, Bernard Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper we review space flight experiments performed by our laboratory. Rhesus monkeys were tested before and after 12 days in orbit on COSMOS flights 2044 (1989) and 2229 (1992-1993). There was a long-lasting decrease in post-flight ocular counter-rolling (70%) and vergence (50%) during off-vertical axis rotation. In one animal, the orientation of optokinetic after-nystagmus shifted by 28° from the spatial vertical towards the body vertical early post-flight Otolith-ocular and perceptual responses were also studied in four astronauts on the 17-day Neurolab shuttle mission (STS-90) in 1998. Ocular counter-rolling was unchanged in response to 1-g and 0.5-g Gy centrifugation during and after flight and to post-flight static roll tilts relative to pre-flight values. Orientation of the optokinetic nystagmus eye velocity axis to gravito-inertial acceleration (GIA) during centrifugation was also unaltered by exposure to microgravity. Perceptual orientation to the GIA was maintained in-flight, and subjects did not report sensation of translation during constant velocity centrifugation. These studies suggest that percepts and ocular responses to tilt are determined by sensing the body vertical relative to the GIA. The findings also raise the possibility that 'artificial gravity' during the Neurolab flight counteracted adaptation of these otolith-ocular responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-393
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Volume13
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Keywords

  • Artificial gravity
  • Countermeasure
  • Microgravity
  • Otoliths
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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