Impaired brain development of the diabetes insipidus Brattleboro rat

Brain Res. 1982 Apr;255(4):557-75. doi: 10.1016/0165-3806(82)90054-2.


The Brattleboro homozygous diabetes insipidus (HOM-DI) mutant rat, incapable of synthesizing the neuropeptide vasopressin, has an impaired body growth of which the severity depends upon the conditions of reproduction. The comparison of homogeneously genotyped litters of HOM-DI and heterozygous (HET-DI) control pups, delivered and nursed by HOM-DI females, was regarded to be the only experimental design that practically excludes other influences on growth differences than the mutation itself. In this breeding scheme the postnatal growth of the HOM-DI brain is impaired, and the weight deficit persists into adulthood. Regionally, the neonatal development of cerebellum and medulla oblongata is most affected, and only slightly that of the cerebral cortex. The other separately isolated parts of the the brain seem to be unaffected (olfactory bulbs, hypothalamus, hippocampus, colliculi and thalamus plus basal ganglia). Cerebellum appeared to be the most consistently affected brain area of the HOM-DI Brattleboro rat since, unlike in the case of cerebral cortex and medulla oblongata, the weight deficit persisted throughout life. Olfactory bulb growth, on the other hand, appeared to continue after the first month of life, resulting in an increased weight at day 180. Water content of cerebral cortex and cerebellum of HOM-DI adults appeared slightly higher and might be explained by the generation of different brain water regulation systems for HET- and HOM-DI Brattleboro rats. Protein and DNA estimations of cerebral cortex, cerebellum and olfactory bulbs of male brains during development and in adulthood reflect the differences as found for weight, indicating no obvious changes in cell densities. It is concluded after comparison with other types of brain growth malformations, that the HOM-DI Brattleboro brain has its own particular etiology. The possible involvement of the action of vasopressin is postulated and discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Insipidus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Homozygote
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Mutant Strains
  • Sex Factors
  • Vasopressins / deficiency


  • Vasopressins