Effects of simulated microgravity on the development and maturation of dissociated cortical neurons

Alessio Crestini, Cristina Zona, Pierluigi Sebastiani, Massimo Pieri, Valentina Caracciolo, Lorenzo Malvezzi-Campeggi, Annamaria Confaloni, Silvia Di Loreto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although a wealth of evidence supports the hypothesis that some functions of the nervous system may be altered during exposure to microgravity, the possible changes in basic neuronal physiology are not easy to assess. Indeed, few studies have examined whether microgravity affects the development of neurons in culture. In the present study, a suspension of dissociated cortical cells from rat embryos were exposed to 24 h of simulated microgravity before plating in a normal adherent culture system. Both preexposed and control cells were used after a period of 7-10 d in vitro. The vitality and the level of reactive oxygen species of cultures previously exposed did not differ from those of normal cultures. Cellular characterization by immunostaining with a specific antibody displayed normal neuronal phenotype in control cells, whereas pretreatment in simulated microgravity revealed an increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein fluorescence in the elongated stellate glial cells. Electrophysiological recording indicated that the electrical properties of neurons preexposed were comparable with those of controls. Overall, our results indicate that a short time of simulated microgravity preexposure does not affect dramatically the ability of dissociated neural cells to develop and differentiate in an adherent culture system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Electrophysiology
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Neural cultures
  • Oxidative stress
  • Simulated microgravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology


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