Vestibular dysfunction in vitamin D receptor mutant mice

Anna Minasyan*, Tiina Keisala, Jing Zou, Ya Zhang, Esko Toppila, Heimo Syvälä, Yan Ru Lou, Allan V. Kalueff, Ilmari Pyykkö, Pentti Tuohimaa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


The vitamin D endocrine system is essential for calcium and bone homeostasis. Vitamin D deficits are associated with muscle weakness and osteoporosis, whereas vitamin D supplementation may improve muscle function, body sway and frequency of falls, growth and mineral homeostasis of bones. The loss of muscle strength and mass, as well as deficits in bone formation, lead to poor balance. Poor balance is one of the main causes of falls, and may lead to dangerous injuries. Here we examine balance functions in vitamin D receptor deficient (VDR-/-) mice, an animal model of vitamin D-dependent rickets type II, and in 1α-hydroxylase deficient (1α-OHase-/-) mice, an animal model of pseudovitamin D-deficiency rickets. Recently developed methods (tilting box, rotating tube test), swim test, and modified accelerating rotarod protocol were used to examine whether the absence of functional VDR, or the lack of a key vitamin D-activating enzyme, could lead to mouse vestibular dysfunctions. Overall, VDR-/- mice, but not 1α-OHase-/- mice, showed shorter latency to fall from the rotarod, smaller fall angle in the tilting box test, and aberrant poor swimming. These data suggest that VDR deficiency in mice is associated with decreased balance function, and may be relevant to poorer balance/posture control in humans with low levels of vitamin D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • 1α-hydroxylase
  • Pseudovitamin D-deficiency rickets
  • Rickets type II
  • Rotarod
  • Rotating tube
  • Swim test
  • Tilting box
  • Vestibular system
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D receptor


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