Prenatal development of the Brattleboro rat is influenced by genotype and lysine vasopressin treatment of the mother

Biol Neonate. 1988;53(5):295-304. doi: 10.1159/000242805.


Homozygous (Hom) Brattleboro rats suffer from severe diabetes insipidus (DI) as a consequence of the lack of arginine-vasopressin (AVP) in the brain. Compared with heterozygous (Het) AVP-synthesizing Brattleboro rats, Hom rats show disturbed body and brain development. In this study breeding experiments with Het and Hom rats were performed to determine whether prenatal conditions might contribute to the developmental disturbances in Hom pups. For this purpose Het and Hom females were mated with Hom and Het males, respectively. In addition lysine-vasopressin (LVP) was administered to half of the pregnant females, since this has previously been shown to stimulate birth weight of Hom pups. On day 1 postnatally the body and brain weight of Hom pups of nontreated Hom mothers was significantly smaller than that of the Het litter mates, whereas no difference was found between the weight of Het or Hom pups of nontreated or LVP-treated Het mothers. These results indicate an important role of the genotype of the mother in prenatal development of Hom pups. LVP administration failed to diminish the growth deficits, but increased protein and DNA content of the cerebellum of both Het and Hom pups. Notwithstanding the improved prenatal growth of Hom pups from Het mothers, postnatally retarded development was still observed: at 1 month of age there was a significant difference between the body, brain and cerebellar weight of Het and Hom pups from Het mothers. It was therefore concluded that the prenatal situation of the Hom mother, i.e. AVP-deficiency, significantly contributes to the developmental disturbance of the Hom pup, but also that growth impairment is linked to the presence of the mutation in the Hom pups themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Arginine Vasopressin / deficiency*
  • Birth Weight / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / embryology
  • Cerebellum / analysis
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / embryology
  • DNA / analysis
  • Diabetes Insipidus / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Lypressin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Brattleboro / embryology*
  • Rats, Brattleboro / genetics
  • Rats, Mutant Strains / embryology*


  • Proteins
  • Arginine Vasopressin
  • Lypressin
  • DNA