Effect of vitamin D3 on behavioural and biochemical parameters in diabetes type 1-induced rats

Cell Biochem Funct. 2014 Aug;32(6):502-10. doi: 10.1002/cbf.3044. Epub 2014 Jun 19.


Diabetes is associated with long-term complications in the brain and reduced cognitive ability. Vitamin D3 (VD3 ) appears to be involved in the amelioration of hyperglycaemia in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Our aim was to analyse the potential of VD3 in avoiding brain damage through evaluation of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), Na(+) K(+) -adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) and delta aminolevulinate dehydratase (δ-ALA-D) activities and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) levels from cerebral cortex, as well as memory in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Animals were divided into eight groups (n = 5): control/saline, control/metformin (Metf), control/VD3 , control/Metf + VD3 , diabetic/saline, diabetic/Metf, diabetic/VD3 and diabetic/Metf + VD3 . Thirty days after treatment, animals were submitted to contextual fear-conditioning and open-field behavioural tests, after which they were sacrificed and the cerebral cortex was dissected. Our results demonstrate a significant memory deficit, an increase in AChE activity and TBARS levels and a decrease in δ-ALA-D and Na(+) K(+) -ATPase activities in diabetic rats when compared with the controls. Treatment of diabetic rats with Metf and VD3 prevented the increase in AChE activity when compared with the diabetic/saline group. In treated diabetic rats, the decrease in Na(+) K(+) -ATPase was reverted when compared with non-treated rats, but the increase in δ-ALA-D activity was not. VD3 prevented diabetes-induced TBARS level and improved memory. Our results show that VD3 can avoid cognitive deficit through prevention of changes in important enzymes such as Na(+) K(+) -ATPase and AChE in cerebral cortex in type 1 diabetic rats.

Keywords: VD3; cholecalciferol; cholinesterase; diabetes; memory.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology*
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Fear / drug effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Metformin / pharmacology
  • Porphobilinogen Synthase / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism
  • Streptozocin
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Vitamins
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Streptozocin
  • Metformin
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Porphobilinogen Synthase
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase