Teen mice and anti-gravity fish

I think coming across stuff like this is one of the reasons I love science. I’d never have thought of it, but someone did and now the knowledge is available for everyone to share. Plus it means that somewhere in Germany, someone is getting paid to centifuge fish.

Risk-taking behavior in adolescent mice: psychobiological determinants and early epigenetic influence
Giovanni Laviola, Simone Macri, Sara Morley-Fletcher, Walter Adriani
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 27 (2003) 19?31

Abstract: Epidemiological research has emphasized that adolescence is associated with some temperamental and behavioral traits that are typical of this age and that might substantially contribute to both psychological and psychobiological vulnerability. The contribution of the important developmental rearrangements in neurobiological and neuroendocrinological processes has received surprisingly little investigation. The present review summarizes recent work in animal models, indicating that adolescent rodents exhibit marked peculiarities in their spontaneous behavioral repertoire. When compared to adults, adolescents show an unbalanced and extremes oriented behavior, consisting of an increased novelty seeking, together with decreased novelty-induced stress and anxiety, an increased risk-taking behavior in the plus-maze, as well as elevated levels of impulsivity and restlessness. Age-related discontinuities in the function of monoaminergic systems, which are a main target of abused drugs, can perhaps account for such a profile. In particular, a peculiar function within reward-related dopaminergic brain pathways actually seems to underlie the search for novel and rewarding sensations, as well as changes in the magnitude of psychostimulant effects. The role played by early epigenetic factors in the shaping of novelty-seeking behavior of adolescent and adult rodents are also reviewed. Two examples are considered, namely, subtle variations in the hormonal milieu as a function of intrauterine position and precocious or delayed maturation of nutritional independence as a function of changes in time of weaning. As for spontaneous drug consumption, a prominent vulnerability to the oral intake of nicotine during early adolescence is reported. In conclusion, adolescence in rodents may represent a suitable animal model with enough face- and construct-validity. Actually, this model is able to show behavioral features that resemble those found in human adolescents, including vulnerability to the consumption of psychoactive drugs.

Neurobiology of fish under altered gravity conditions
Ralf H. Anken, Michael Ibsch, Hinrich Rahmann
Brain Research Reviews 28 1998 9?18

Abstract: In vertebrates (including man), an altered gravitational environment such as weightlessness can induce malfunction of the inner ear, based on an irregular dislocation of the otoliths from the corresponding sensory epithelia. This dislocation leads to an illusionary tilt, since the otolithic inputs are not in register with other sensory organs. This results in an intersensory conflict. Vertebrates in orbit therefore face severe orientation problems. In humans, the intersensory conflict may additionally lead to a malaise, commonly referred to as space motion sickness (SMS). During the first days in weightlessness, the orientation problems and SMS disappear, since the brain develops a new compensatory interpretation of the available sensory data. The present review reports the neurobiological responses?particularly in fish?observed at altered gravitational states, concerning behaviour and neuroplastic reactivities. Recent investigations employing microgravity (spaceflight, parabolic aircraft flights, clinostat) and hyper-gravity (laboratory centrifuges as ground based research tools) yielded clues and insights into the understanding of the respective basic phenomena. The possible sources of human space sickness a kinetosis and of the space adaptation syndrome (when a sensory reinterpretation of gravitational and visual cues takes place) are particularly highlighted with regard to the functional significance of bilaterally asymmetric otoliths (weight, size).