Thiamine deficiency (TD) has detrimental effects on brain health and neurobehavioral development, and it is associated with many aging-related neurological disorders. To facilitate TD-related neuropsychological studies, we generated a TD mouse model by feeding a thiamine-deficient diet for 30 days, followed by re-feeding the control diet for either one week or 16 weeks as recovery treatment. We then performed neurobehavioral tests in these two cohorts: cohort of one week post TD treatment (1 wk-PTDT) and 16 weeks post TD treatment (16 wks-PTDT). The TD mice showed no significant difference from control in any tests in the 1 wk-PTDT cohort at the age of 13–14 weeks. The tests for the 16 wks-PTDT cohort at the age of 28–29 weeks, however, demonstrated anxiety and reduced locomotion in TD animals in open field and elevated plus maze. In comparison, rotor rod and water maze revealed no differences between TD and control mice. The current findings of the differential effects of the same TD treatment on locomotion and anxiety at different ages may reflect the progressive and moderate change of TD-induced neurobehavioral effects. The study suggests that, even though the immediate neurobehavioral impact of TD is modest or negligible at a young age, the impact could develop and become severe during the aging process.

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Published in Brain Sciences, v. 10, issue. 8, 565.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development (Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development: Merit Review (BX001721)) to Jia Luo. It was also supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (AA017226 and AA015407) to Jia Luo.