Developmental vitamin D deficiency alters dopamine-mediated behaviors and dopamine transporter function in adult female rats

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Jan;208(1):159-68. doi: 10.1007/s00213-009-1717-y. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


Rationale: Developmental vitamin D (DVD) deficiency has been proposed as a risk factor for schizophrenia. DVD deficiency in neonatal rats is associated with alterations in cellular development, dopamine metabolism, and brain morphology. DVD-deficient adult rats show novelty-induced hyperlocomotion and an enhanced locomotor response to MK-801, which can be ameliorated by pretreatment with the antipsychotic drug haloperidol.

Objectives: In this study, we examined locomotor responses of male and female juvenile and adult rats to a dose range of amphetamine. We also measured dopamine receptor and monoamine transporter densities in adult brain.

Results: Female DVD-deficient adult rats displayed an enhanced sensitivity to amphetamine-induced locomotion, an increased dopamine transporter density in the caudate-putamen and increased affinity in the nucleus accumbens compared with control females. By contrast, there were no differences between control and DVD-deficient male rats.

Discussion: Taken together, this suggests an alteration in the development of the dopamine system and on dopamine-mediated behaviors in female DVD-deficient rats, and this may be relevant to the underlying neurobiology of schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Amphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Schizophrenia / etiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Amphetamine
  • Dopamine