Maternal vitamin D deficiency alters the expression of genes involved in dopamine specification in the developing rat mesencephalon.
Neurosci Lett. 2010 Sep 24.
Cui X, Pelekanos M, Burne TH, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW.
Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Qld 4072, Australia.
Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopment disorder that is strongly associated with alterations in dopamine neurotransmission. Common features of animal models of schizophrenia include behavioral, cognitive and/or pharmacological abnormalities reflective of aberrant DA signaling. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of genes important for dopaminergic development and maturation within the embryonic mesencephalon using an epidemiologically-informed animal model of schizophrenia, the Developmental Vitamin D (DVD) deficient rat model. Two groups of female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a diet replete (1,000 IU/kg) or deplete (0 IU/kg) of vitamin D, mated and foetal mesencephalon collected at embryonic day (E) 12 or E15. Using RT-PCR, the DVD deficient embryos had a significant reduction in factors crucial in specifying dopaminergic phenotype, such as Nurr 1 and p57Kip2. No group differences were found for Lmx1b or Ptx3. Reductions in these specification factors may alter the ontogeny of DA neurons and may ultimately help to explain the behavioural abnormalities reported in adult offspring from this model. PMID: 20884326