Increased anxiety in mice lacking vitamin D receptor gene

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Vitamin D is a steroid hormone with many important functions in the brain, mediated through the vitamin D nuclear receptor. Numerous human and animal data link vitamin D dysfunctions to various behavioural disorders. To examine this problem, we studied whether genetic ablation of vitamin D receptors in mice may be associated with altered emotional behaviours. Here we show that the receptor-deficient mice demonstrate increased anxiety-like behaviours when subjected to a battery of behavioural tests. These studies suggest that vitamin D and its receptors are an important factor in the brain, whose imbalance may significantly affect emotional behaviour.

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