Vitamin D deficiency leads to the loss of connections between neurons
Research from the University of Queensland may explain why vitamin D is so important for the brain and why its deficiency leads to a range of cognitive disorders, including depression and schizophrenia.
More than a billion people worldwide suffer from deficiencies of theor vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of moof the thalamus, and its deficiencies can lead to problemsow with memory and with learning, and to the development of schizophrenia or depression. Unfortunately, it is not clear howob vitamin D affects the structure and function of mozgu.
Some more light was shed on these issues by a study by a team of scientistsoIn a study led by Professor Thomas Burne’a from the University of Queensland in Australia. Scientists showed that vitamin D affects the integrity of a type of „scaffolding” in mozgu – known as. perineuronal networks.
Perineuronal networks are composed of proteins and sugar molecules, whichore together form a strong, supportive network in the wokoł neuronow. Thusob stabilize the connections between them.
In their study, Burne and his coohe researchers removed vitamin D from the diets of a dozen healthy, young mice. The control group of rodents continued to receive vitamin D. After 20 weeks, the scientists subjected the animals to the study. It turned out that a group of rodents whoorej removed vitamin D from their food, showed memory problems and a significant decrease in learning ability, in porocompared to a control group.
When the researchers examined mozgi vitamin D-deficient mice, they found a marked reduction in perineuronal networks in the hippocampus – a region mozg crucial to cognitive ability and memory. There has been a roalso significantly reduce the zaroboth the number and strength of connections between neurons in this region.
Burne and his cooThe researchers suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining the stability of perineuronal networks. According to them, adequate levels of vitamin D prevent the breakdown of perineuronal networks by someore enzymes, but when vitamin D becomes scarce, the enzymes begin to degrade the. When this happens, neurons in the hippocampus are no longer properly supported by perineuronal networks and have trouble maintaining connections. This ultimately leads to loss of cognitive function.
The hippocampus is not the only part of the mozgu, whichora uses perineuronal networks to maintain connections between neurons, but it was this region that was most affected by vitamin D deficiency in the study.
According to Burne, perineuronal networks in the hippocampus may be most affected by vitamin D deficiency because this region is much more active than other regions of the mozgu.
– It is like a canary in a mine. It is the first to fail because its high energy requirements make it more sensitive to deficiency ofor essential componentsoin nutrients, such as vitamin D. It is intriguing that the right part of the hippocampus was more affected by vitamin D deficiency than the left part – explained.
Burne admitted that he is not sure why this happens, but, he added, it is consistent with what is observed in osob with schizophrenia. About 70 percent of the. osob schizophrenia sufferers have insufficient amounts of vitamin D. These individuals have roalso more establishmentsocensors on the right side of the hippocampus.
– As with spatial memory, the right side of the hippocampus is really important for perceiving reality and fitting into the world of – emphasized Burne.
Loss of function in this area mozgu caused by vitamin D deficiency may be an important contributor to the development of schizophrenia, including severe deficits in theoIn memory and distorted perception of reality.
These studies have shown that perineuronal networks are variable, at least in mice. If they can be destroyed by shortagesor of vitamin D, there may be a chance to rebuild it under the right conditions. – Since these networks are dynamic structures, we hope that they can be replicated. If so, this could be the basis for developing new therapies. There is still a lot of work ahead of us – said Burne.
Sourceobackground: Queensland Brain Institute, photo. Phoebe Mayne, UQ. Perineuronal networks are marked in green in the photo