Diminished serotonergic functioning in hostile children with ADHD: Tryptophan depletion increases behavioural inhibition
ABSTRACT Serotonergic (5-HT) functioning has been shown to account for a variety of behavioural characteristics, in particular aggressive and impulsive behaviour. This study explored the effects of rapid tryptophan depletion (RTD) and the ensuing reduction of brain 5-HT synthesis on behavioural inhibition in passive avoidance learning assessed in a computerized go/no-go task.
22 male patients with an ICD-10 diagnosis of ADHD were administered RTD within an amino acid drink lacking tryptophan, the natural precursor of 5-HT, thus lowering the central nervous 5-HT synthesis rate in a placebo-controlled double-blind within-subject crossover-design. 4 hours after RTD/placebo intake the patients were subjected to a go/no-go task for assessment of behavioural inhibition.
Highly hostile aggressive patients showed increased inhibition errors under RTD compared to placebo. Low hostile aggressive patients showed lower rates of inhibition errors and thus better performance under RTD compared to placebo.
The data suggest that in ADHD levels of trait-aggressive characteristics influence the susceptibility to changed behavioural inhibition after an acute 5-HT dysfunction. The detected influence of 5-HT could also be relevant as regards behavioural inhibition being subject to a developmental change in 5-HT functioning.
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ABSTRACT: FAULKNER, P. and DEAKIN, J.F.W. The role of serotonin in reward, punishment and behavioural inhibition in humans; insights from studies with acute tryptophan depletion Deakin and Graeff proposed that forebrain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) projections are activated by aversive events and mediate anticipatory coping responses including avoidance learning and suppression of the fight-flight escape/panic response. Other theories proposed 5-HT mediates aspects of behavioural inhibition or reward. Most of the evidence comes from rodent studies. We review 36 experimental studies in humans in which the technique of acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) was used to explicitly address the role of 5-HT in response inhibition, punishment and reward. ATD did not cause disinhibition of responding in the absence of rewards or punishments (9 studies). A major role for 5-HT in reward processing is unlikely but further tests are warranted by some ATD findings. Remarkably, ATD lessened the ability of punishments (losing points or notional money) to restrain behaviour without affecting reward processing in 7 studies. 2 of these studies strongly indicate that ATD blocks 5-HT mediated aversively conditioned Pavlovian inhibition and this can explain a number of the behavioural effects of ATD.Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 09/2014; 46. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.07.024 · 10.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Impulsivity is common in Parkinson's disease even in the absence of impulse control disorders. It is likely to be multifactorial, including a dopaminergic 'overdose' and structural changes in the frontostriatal circuits for motor control. In addition, we proposed that changes in serotonergic projections to the forebrain also contribute to response inhibition in Parkinson's disease, based on preclinical animal and human studies. We therefore examined whether the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram improves response inhibition, in terms of both behaviour and the efficiency of underlying neural mechanisms. This multimodal magnetic resonance imaging study used a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover design with an integrated Stop-Signal and NoGo paradigm. Twenty-one patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (46-76 years old, 11 male, Hoehn and Yahr stage 1.5-3) received 30 mg citalopram or placebo in addition to their usual dopaminergic medication in two separate sessions. Twenty matched healthy control subjects (54-74 years old, 12 male) were tested without medication. The effects of disease and drug on behavioural performance and regional brain activity were analysed using general linear models. In addition, anatomical connectivity was examined using diffusion tensor imaging and tract-based spatial statistics. We confirmed that Parkinson's disease caused impairment in response inhibition, with longer Stop-Signal Reaction Time and more NoGo errors under placebo compared with controls, without affecting Go reaction times. This was associated with less stop-specific activation in the right inferior frontal cortex, but no significant difference in NoGo-related activation. Although there was no beneficial main effect of citalopram, it reduced Stop-Signal Reaction Time and NoGo errors, and enhanced inferior frontal activation, in patients with relatively more severe disease (higher Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score). The behavioural effect correlated with the citalopram-induced enhancement of prefrontal activation and the strength of preserved structural connectivity between the frontal and striatal regions. In conclusion, the behavioural effect of citalopram on response inhibition depends on individual differences in prefrontal cortical activation and frontostriatal connectivity. The correlation between disease severity and the effect of citalopram on response inhibition may be due to the progressive loss of forebrain serotonergic projections. These results contribute to a broader understanding of the critical roles of serotonin in regulating cognitive and behavioural control, as well as new strategies for patient stratification in clinical trials of serotonergic treatments in Parkinson's disease.Brain 02/2014; 137(4). DOI:10.1093/brain/awu032 · 10.23 Impact Factor