Simulated Microgravity Subtlety Changes Monoamine Function across the Rat Brain

Alexandra Gros, Léandre Lavenu, Jean-Luc Morel, Philippe De Deurwaerdère
IJMS. 2021-10-29; 22(21): 11759
DOI: 10.3390/ijms222111759

Microgravity, one of the conditions faced by astronauts during spaceflights, triggers brain adaptive responses that could have noxious consequences on behaviors. Although monoaminergic systems, which include noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT), are widespread neuromodulatory systems involved in adaptive behaviors, the influence of microgravity on these systems is poorly documented. Using a model of simulated microgravity (SMG) during a short period in Long Evans male rats, we studied the distribution of monoamines in thirty brain regions belonging to vegetative, mood, motor, and cognitive networks. SMG modified NA and/or DA tissue contents along some brain regions belonging to the vestibular/motor systems (inferior olive, red nucleus, cerebellum, somatosensorily cortex, substantia nigra, and shell of the nucleus accumbens). DA and 5-HT contents were reduced in the prelimbic cortex, the only brain area exhibiting changes for 5-HT content. However, the number of correlations of one index of the 5-HT metabolism (ratio of metabolite and 5-HT) alone or in interaction with the DA metabolism was dramatically increased between brain regions. It is suggested that SMG, by mobilizing vestibular/motor systems, promotes in these systems early, restricted changes of NA and DA functions that are associated with a high reorganization of monoaminergic systems, notably 5-HT.

Know more about