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Dev Psychobiol. 2014 Jan;56(1):12-22. doi: 10.1002/dev.21086. Epub 2012 Nov 5.

The effects of vitamin D₃ during pregnancy and lactation on offspring physiology and behavior in sprague-dawley rats.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1C1A4; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Rd N., Davis Building, Room 2037B, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L1C6.


Recent findings show that developmental vitamin D deficiency leads to altered brain morphology and behavioral development in the rat offspring. We examined the effects of different dietary vitamin D levels in rat dams on behavior and biochemistry of the offspring. Females were divided into five conditions and received diets containing 0, 1,5, 3.3, 6.0, or 10.0 IU/g of vitamin D₃ from mating to weaning. Offspring were tested as juveniles and as adults for anxiety, social learning and behavior, and locomotion. Results show that both deficient and excessive levels of vitamin D3 in juveniles lead to altered physiology and behavior. In juveniles but not adults, variations in vitamin D were related to variations in measures of anxiety and marginally, activity levels. For social behaviors, both juveniles and adults were affected by mothers' diets. In general, offspring of animals receiving abnormal concentrations of vitamin D showed the most deficits.


behavior, biochemistry; development; lactation; rats; vitamin D

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