Effects of elevated calcium on motor and exploratory activities of rats
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The effects of serum and brain calcium concentration on rat behavior were tested by maintaining animals on either distilled water (N = 60) or water containing 1% calcium gluconate (N = 60) for 3 days. Animals that were maintained on high calcium drinking water presented increased serum calcium levels (control = 10.12 ± 0.46 vs calcium treated = 11.62 ± 0.51 µg/dl). Increase of brain calcium levels was not statistically significant. In the behavioral experiments each rat was used for only one test. Rats that were maintained on high calcium drinking water showed increased open-field behavior of ambulation (20.68%) and rearing (64.57%). on the hole-board, calcium-supplemented animals showed increased head-dip (67%) and head-dipping (126%), suggesting increased ambulatory and exploratory behavior. The time of social interaction was normal in animals maintained on drinking water containing added calcium. Rats supplemented with calcium and submitted to elevated plus-maze tests showed a normal status of anxiety and elevated locomotor activity. We conclude that elevated levels of calcium enhance motor and exploratory behavior of rats without inducing other behavioral alterations. These data suggest the need for a more detailed analysis of several current proposals for the use of calcium therapy in humans, for example in altered blood pressure states, bone mineral metabolism disorders in the elderly, hypocalcemic states, and athletic activities.