Author(s): Burne TH, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW, MackaySim A
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Abstract Vitamin D (calcitriol) is a nuclear transcription regulator acting via a nuclear hormone receptor (VDR). In addition to its role in the regulation of calcium and phosphate homeostasis and in bone formation, Vitamin D is also thought to be involved in brain function. The aim of this study was to behaviourally phenotype VDR knockout mice. We characterized the behaviour of VDR null mutant mice and wildtype littermate controls by subjecting them to a range of tests including a primary behavioural screen (using the SHIRPA protocol), rotarod, gait analysis, Y-maze, marble burying test, bedding test, holeboard test, elevated plus maze, open field test and prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response. There were no effects of genotype on most of the scores from the SHIRPA protocol except that VDR -/- mice had alopecia, were shorter and weighed less than VDR +/+ mice. VDR -/- mice had a shorter gait as well as impairments on the rotarod, in the bedding test and impaired habituation in both the open field and on the acoustic startle response. The VDR -/- mice had normal acoustic startle responses but had impaired PPI at long (256 ms) but not short (64 ms) prepulse to pulse intervals. The VDR -/- mice were less active in the open field and buried fewer marbles in the marble burying test. However, there were no differences in the time spent on the open arms of the elevated plus maze or in working memory as assessed by repeat arm entries on the Y-maze. Therefore, it appears that VDR -/- mice have muscular and motor impairments that significantly affects locomotor behaviour but seemingly no impairments in cognition as indicated by exploration, working memory or anxiety.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism