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Differential organization of open field behavior in mice following acute or chronic simulated GCR exposure
Behavioural Brain Research  (IF3.332),  Pub Date : 2021-09-08, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113577
E.A. Schaeffer, A.A. Blackwell, J.R. Osterlund Oltmanns, R. Einhaus, R. Lake, C. Piwowar Hein, J.E. Baulch, C.L. Limoli, S.T. Ton, G.L. Kartje, D.G. Wallace

Astronauts undertaking deep space travel will receive chronic exposure to the mixed spectrum of particles that comprise Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR). Exposure to the different charged particles of varied fluence and energy that characterize GCR may impact neural systems that support performance on mission critical tasks. Indeed, growing evidence derived from years of terrestrial-based simulations of the space radiation environment using rodents has indicated that a variety of exposure scenarios can result in significant and long-lasting decrements to CNS functionality. Many of the behavioral tasks used to quantify radiation effects on the CNS depend on neural systems that support maintaining spatial orientation and organization of rodent open field behavior. The current study examined the effects of acute or chronic exposure to simulated GCR on the organization of open field behavior under conditions with varied access to environmental cues in male and female C57Bl/6 J mice. In general, groups exhibited similar organization of open field behavior under dark and light conditions. Two exceptions were noted, the acute exposure group exhibited significantly slower and more circuitous homeward progressions relative to the chronic group under light conditions. These results demonstrate the potential of open field behavior organization to discriminate between the effects of select GCR exposure paradigms.