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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Dec;34 Suppl 1:S258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.07.004.

Transient prenatal vitamin D deficiency is associated with changes of synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus in adult rats.

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Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Leipziger Str. 44, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany.


Transient prenatal vitamin D deficiency is considered a neurodevelopmental animal model in schizophrenia research. Vitamin D deficiency in female rats causes morphological, cellular and molecular changes in the brain and alters behaviour and nerve growth factors expression in their offspring. Prenatal depleted animals showed a significant impairment of latent inhibition, a feature often associated with schizophrenia and of hole board habituation. Interestingly, memory consolidation of brightness discrimination was improved. Possible functional effects of altered brain development that results from prenatal vitamin D deficiency were characterized by investigation of potentiation phenomena in the hippocampus in freely moving rats. Transient prenatal vitamin D deficiency induced an enhancement of long-term potentiation (LTP) using either weak tetanic or strong tetanic stimulation, whereas the response to test stimuli was not changed. The classic neuroleptic drug haloperidol (Hal) and the atypical neuroleptic risperidone (Ris) in doses, which normalized behavioural disturbances in prenatal vitamin D-deficient animals without any side effects on the normal behaviour decreased the enhanced LTP in the experimental group to control level. Interestingly, the effect of the substances was different in experimental and control rats. The LTP was enhanced in control animals by the low doses of the drugs effective in our behavioural experiments. It can be suggested, that changes in brain development induced by prenatal vitamin D deficiency lead to specific functional alterations in hippocampal synaptic plasticity. LTP is considered a cellular correlate of learning and memory. The better retention performance in brightness discrimination seems in accordance with enhanced potentiation level.

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