• vitamin D;
  • lactation;
  • development;
  • behavior, biochemistry;
  • rats


Recent findings show that developmental vitamin D deficiency leads to altered brain morphology and behavioral development in the rat offspring. We examined the effects of different dietary vitamin D levels in rat dams on behavior and biochemistry of the offspring. Females were divided into five conditions and received diets containing 0, 1,5, 3.3, 6.0, or 10.0 IU/g of vitamin D3 from mating to weaning. Offspring were tested as juveniles and as adults for anxiety, social learning and behavior, and locomotion. Results show that both deficient and excessive levels of vitamin D3 in juveniles lead to altered physiology and behavior. In juveniles but not adults, variations in vitamin D were related to variations in measures of anxiety and marginally, activity levels. For social behaviors, both juveniles and adults were affected by mothers' diets. In general, offspring of animals receiving abnormal concentrations of vitamin D showed the most deficits. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 56: 12–22, 2014.