Neurovestibular modulation of circadian and homeostatic regulation: Vestibulohypothalamic connection?

Patrick M. Fuller, Timothy A. Jones, Sherri M. Jones, Charles A. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Chronic exposure to increased force environments (+G) has pronounced effects on the circadian and homeostatic regulation of body temperature (Tb), ambulatory activity (Act), heart rate, feeding, and adiposity. By using the Brn 3.1 knockout mouse, which lacks vestibular hair cells, we recently described a major role of the vestibular system in mediating some of these adaptive responses. The present study used the C57BL/6JEi-het mouse strain (het), which lacks macular otoconia, to elucidate the contribution of specific vestibular receptors. In this study, eight het and eight WT mice were exposed to 2G for 8 weeks by means of chronic centrifugation. In addition, eight het and eight WT mice were maintained as 1G controls in similar conditions. Upon 2G exposure, the WT exhibited a decrease in Tb and an attenuated Tb circadian rhythm. Act means and rhythms also were attenuated. Body mass and food intake were significantly lower than the 1G controls. After 8 weeks, percent body fat was significantly lower in the WT mice (P < 0.0001). In contrast, the het mice did not exhibit a decrease in mean Tb and only a slight decrease in Tb circadian amplitude. het Act levels were attenuated similarly to the WT mice. Body mass and food intake were only slightly attenuated in the het mice, and percent body fat, after 8 weeks, was not different in the 2G het group. These results link the vestibular macular receptors with specific alterations in homeostatic and circadian regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15723-15728
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 26 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adiposity
  • Het
  • Hypergravity
  • Mice
  • Otoconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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