Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2015
The aim of the work was to analyse changes in the location and morphological characteristics of calbindin (CB)-immunoreactive (IR) neurons of the thoracic spinal cord of C57BL/6N male mice after completion of a 30-day space flight on board the BION-M1 biosatellite (Russia, 2013). Space flight induced multidirectional changes of the number and morphological parameters of CB-positive neurons. The number of IR neurons increased in laminae I (from 10 to 17 neurons per section), II (from 42 to 67 cells per section) and IX (from two neurons per segment to two neurons per section), but CB disappeared in neurons of lamina VIII. Weightlessness did not affect the number of CB-IR neurons in laminae III–V and VII, including preganglionic sympathetic neurons. The cross-sectional area of CB-IR neurons decreased in lamina II and VII (group of partition cells) and increased in laminae III–V and IX. After a space flight, few very large neurons with long dendrites appeared in lamina IV. The results obtained give evidence about substantial changes in the calcium buffer system and imbalance of different groups of CB-IR neurons due to reduction of afferent information under microgravity.