This study assessed the effects of diet-induced thiamine deficiency in rats on two aspects of behavior, aggression and learning. Evidence of enhanced aggression (increased mouse killing) was noted with severe thiamine deficiency, but before the onset of overt neurological signs of thiamine deprivation. This behavioral change was rapidly reversible with thiamine. A similar degree of thiamine deficiency failed to alter learning of two-way shuttle-box avoidance acquisition. Animals with a gross neurological deficit did exhibit a major impairment in shuttle-box performance, but this was probably due to ataxia. However, when such rats were administered thiamine with total reversal of the neurological signs, testing in a three chambered Y-maze avoidance-discrimination apparatus also revealed impaired learning of both responses. These data demonstrate the presence of enhanced aggression during thiamine deprivation and of a persistent learning impairment in rats following reversal of this vitamin deficiency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)