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  • PMID: 22221925 was deleted because it is a duplicate of PMID: 22296218
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Genes Brain Behav. 2012 Apr;11(3):269-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2011.00762.x. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Effect of vitamin C deficiency during postnatal development on adult behavior: functional phenotype of Gulo-/- knockout mice.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health, Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG), University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056, USA.

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  • Genes Brain Behav. 2012 Jun;11(4):500.


Organisms using oxygen for aerobic respiration require antioxidants to balance the production of reactive oxygen species during metabolic processes. Various species--including humans and other primates--suffer mutations in the GULO gene encoding L-gulono-γ-lactone oxidase; GULO is the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of ascorbate, an important cellular antioxidant. Animals lacking the ability to synthesize vitamin C develop scurvy without dietary supplementation. The Gulo-/- knockout (KO) mouse requires oral supplemental vitamin C; without this supplementation the animal dies with a scorbutic condition within several weeks. Vitamin C is known to be most abundant in the brain, where it is believed to play important roles in neuroprotection, neurotransmission and neuromodulation. We therefore hypothesized that ascorbate deficiency in Gulo-/- KO mice might lead to an abnormal behavioral phenotype. We established the amount of ascorbate in the drinking water (220 ppm) necessary for generating a chronic low-ascorbate status in the brain, yet clinically the mice appeared healthy throughout 100 days postpartum at which time all behavioral-phenotyping tests were completed. Compared with Gulo+/+ wild-type littermates, ascorbate-deficient Gulo-/- mice were found to be less active in moving in their environment; when in water, these mice swam more slowly in some tests, consistent with a mild motor deficit. We found no evidence of cognitive, anxiety or sensorimotor-gating problems. Despite being less active, Gulo-/- mice exhibited exaggerated hyperactivity to the dopaminergic agonist methamphetamine. The subnormal movement, combined with hypersensitivity to a dopamine agonist, point to developmental ascorbate deficiency causing long-term striatal dysfunction.

© 2012 The Authors. Genes, Brain and Behavior © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.

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