The influence of microgravity on cerebral blood flow and electrocortical activity

Timo Klein, Petra Wollseiffen, Marit Sanders, Jurgen Claassen, Heather Carnahan, Vera Abeln, Tobias Vogt, Heiko K. Strüder, Stefan Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in gravity conditions have previously been reported to influence brain hemodynamics as well as neuronal activity. This paper attempts to identify a possible link between changes in brain blood flow and neuronal activity during microgravity. Middle cerebral artery flow velocity (MCAv) was measured using Doppler ultrasound. Brain cortical activity (i.e., cortical current density) was measured using electroencephalography. Finger blood pressure was recorded and exported to generate beat-by-beat systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), cardiac output (CO), and cerebrovascular conductance index (CVCi). Seventeen participants were evaluated under normal gravity conditions and microgravity conditions, during 15 bouts of 22-s intervals of weightlessness during a parabolic flight. Although MAP decreased and CO increased, MCAv remained unchanged in the microgravity condition. CVCi as the quotient of MCAv and MAP increased in microgravity. Cortical current density showed a global decrease. Our data support earlier data reporting a decrease in the amplitude of event-related potentials recorded during microgravity. However, the general decrease in neural excitability in microgravity seems not to be dependent on hemodynamic changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1062
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 8


  • EEG
  • MCA
  • Parabolic flight
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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