Influence of altered gravity on the cytochemical localization of cytochrome oxidase activity in central and peripheral gravisensory systems in developing cichlid fish.


Cichlid fish larvae were reared from hatching to active free swimming under different gravity conditions: natural environment, increased acceleration in a centrifuge, simulated weightlessness in a clinostat and near weightlessness during space flight. Cytochrome oxidase activity was analyzed semiquantitatively on the ultrastructural level as a marker of regional neuronal activity in a primary, vestibular brainstem nucleus and in gravity receptive epithelia in the inner ear. Our results show, that gravity seems to be positively correlated with cytochrome oxidase activity in the magnocellular nucleus of developing fish brain. In the inner ear the energy metabolism is decreased under microgravity concerning utricle but not saccule. Hypergravity has no effect on cytochrome oxidase activity in sensory inner ear epithelia.