Date of Award

Winter 12-1-1973

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Interest in the role played by trace minerals in brain development and the subsequent effect on learning is recent. Biochemically a great number of studies on zinc have been done, but in only one other laboratory have the behavioral consequences of a zinc-deficiency been looked at. The present study attempts to partially replicate the previous studies and to explore the behavioral effect of a zinc-deficiency in a different manner. In the postnatal study, dams were made zinc-deficient from the day of delivery until weaning of the pups occurred (21 days). Paired animals were fed the same amount of food as that eaten by the zinc- deficient dams and a third group of dams were fed ad libitum. The pups were weaned at 21 days of life and fed ad libitum for 23 days at which time the behavioral study, using the elevated Tolman-Honzik maze, was begun. The results showed a significantly greater number of errors made by the formerly zinc-deficient animals when compared to the pair-fed and ad libitum-fed animals. For the prenatal study, dams were made zinc-deficient, pair- fed or ad libitum fed from day 14 through day 19 of their pregnancy. Rehabilitation was started on day 20. Randomly selected pups from each of the three groups were studied for behavioral differences using the alley Tolman-Honzik maze. The results of the analysis were just below significance at the .05 level and were in the same direction as the results in the first experiment.