Food and Behaviour Research

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Developmental vitamin D (DVD) deficiency in the rat alters adult behaviour independently of HPA function

Eyles DW, Rogers F, Buller K, McGrath JJ, Ko P, French K, Burne TH.  (2006) Psychoneuroendocrinology.  31(8) 958-64 

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Developmental vitamin D deficiency (DVD) has been shown to alter the orderly pattern of brain development. Even though the period of vitamin D deficiency is restricted to gestation this is sufficient to induce behavioural abnormalities in the adult offspring consistent with those seen in many animal models of schizophrenia.

Given that some of these behavioural alterations could also be an indirect result of either impaired maternal hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) function (which in turn could influence maternal care) or the result of a permanent alteration in HPA function in the adult offspring we have examined HPA status in both maternal animals and adult offspring.

In this study we have established that HPA function is normal in the maternally vitamin D deficient rat. We replicate the behavioural phenotype of hyperlocomotion whilst establishing that HPA function is also unchanged in the adult male offspring.

We conclude that the behavioural alterations induced by DVD deficiency are due to some adverse event in brain development rather than via an alteration in stress response.