Hannah Potts

Examining the Role of Excess Vitamin D and the Dopaminergic System in the Manifestation of ADHD-like Behaviors in Rats

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for many biological processes. There are many neurodevelopmental disorders that are associated with Vitamin D deficiencies, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is an overall lack of knowledge in how Vitamin D levels affect behavior. The current study investigated the role that excess Vitamin D has in the manifestation of ADHD-like behaviors when the dopaminergic system is disrupted pharmacologically. Twenty-two rats (equal number of males and females) received an oral treatment of either acute high doses of Vitamin D (2 mg/kg) or corn oil and either an injection of saline or a dopamine transporter (DAT) inhibitor (GBR 12909), yielding four treatment groups. Each rat underwent testing in an open field for activity, social preference, marble burying, and nest building tasks, with the open field and nest building task data evaluated for ADHD-like behaviors. In the open field activity task, the rats that received Vitamin D were more active, showed by greater distance travelled than the control rats although this was not statistically significant. In the nest building task, there was no concrete trend between the treatment groups and the score of nests built. Lastly, there was an interaction between treatment groups and food consumed during the nest building task with the Vitamin D group eating less than the control group. The behavioral results are trending towards significance in the predicted direction and further testing with additional rats should be considered.

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