Methylphenidate administration to juvenile rats alters brain areas involved in cognition, motivated behaviors, appetite, and stress

The Rockefeller University, New York, New York, United States
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 08/2007; 27(27):7196-207. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0109-07.2007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Thousands of children receive methylphenidate (MPH; Ritalin) for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), yet the long-term neurochemical consequences of MPH treatment are unknown. To mimic clinical Ritalin treatment in children, male rats were injected with MPH (5 mg/kg) or vehicle twice daily from postnatal day 7 (PND7)-PND35. At the end of administration (PND35) or in adulthood (PND135), brain sections from littermate pairs were immunocytochemically labeled for neurotransmitters and cytological markers in 16 regions implicated in MPH effects and/or ADHD etiology. At PND35, the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of rats given MPH showed 55% greater immunoreactivity (-ir) for the catecholamine marker tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), 60% more Nissl-stained cells, and 40% less norepinephrine transporter (NET)-ir density. In hippocampal dentate gyrus, MPH-receiving rats showed a 51% decrease in NET-ir density and a 61% expanded distribution of the new-cell marker PSA-NCAM (polysialylated form of neural cell adhesion molecule). In medial striatum, TH-ir decreased by 21%, and in hypothalamus neuropeptide Y-ir increased by 10% in MPH-exposed rats. At PND135, MPH-exposed rats exhibited decreased anxiety in the elevated plus-maze and a trend for decreased TH-ir in the mPFC. Neither PND35 nor PND135 rats showed major structural differences with MPH exposure. These findings suggest that developmental exposure to high therapeutic doses of MPH has short-term effects on select neurotransmitters in brain regions involved in motivated behaviors, cognition, appetite, and stress. Although the observed neuroanatomical changes largely resolve with time, chronic modulation of young brains with MPH may exert effects on brain neurochemistry that modify some behaviors even in adulthood.


Available from: Annelyn Torres-Reveron, Mar 11, 2014
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Animal studies have shown that methylphenidate (MPH) and fluoxetine (FLX) have different effects on dopaminergic and serotonergic system in the developing brain compared to the developed brain. The effects of Psychotropic drugs On the Developing brain (ePOD) study is a combination of different approaches to determine whether there are related findings in humans. Animal studies were carried out to investigate age-related effects of psychotropic drugs and to validate new neuroimaging techniques. In addition, we set up two double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials with MPH in 50 boys (10-12 years) and 50 young men (23-40 years) suffering from ADHD (ePOD-MPH) and with FLX in 40 girls (12-14 years) and 40 young women (23-40 years) suffering from depression and anxiety disorders (ePOD-SSRI). Trial registration numbers are: Nederlands Trial Register NTR3103 and NTR2111. A cross-sectional cohort study on age-related effects of these psychotropic medications in patients who have been treated previously with MPH or FLX (ePOD-Pharmo) is also ongoing. The effects of psychotropic drugs on the developing brain are studied using neuroimaging techniques together with neuropsychological and psychiatric assessments of cognition, behavior and emotion. All assessments take place before, during (only in case of MPH) and after chronic treatment. The combined results of these approaches will provide new insight into the modulating effect of MPH and FLX on brain development.
    BMC Psychiatry 02/2014; 14(1):48. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-14-48 · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect 4–5% of the adult human population (Kessler et al., 2006; Willcutt, 2012). Often prescribed to attenuate ADHD symptoms (Nair and Moss, 2009), methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH) can have substantial positive effects. However, there is a paucity of literature regarding its use during pregnancy. Thus, adult women with ADHD face a difficult decision when contemplating pregnancy. In this study, pregnant Sprague–Dawley rats were orally treated a total of 0 (water), 6 (low), 18 (medium), or 42 (high) mg MPH/kg body weight/day (divided into three doses) on gestational days 6–21 (i.e., the low dose received 2 mg MPH/kg body weight 3 ×/day). Offspring were orally treated with the same daily dose as their dam (divided into two doses) on postnatal days (PNDs) 1–21. One offspring/sex/litter was sacrificed at PND 22 or PND 104 (n = 6–7/age/sex/treatment group) and the striatum was quickly dissected and frozen. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) coupled to a Photo Diode Array detector (PDA) was used to analyze monoamine content in the striatum of one side while a sandwich ELISA was used to analyze tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) from the other side. Age significantly affected monoamine and metabolite content as well as turnover ratios (i.e., DA, DOPAC, HVA, DOPAC/DA, HVA/DA, 5-HT and 5-HIAA); however, there were no significant effects of sex. Adult rats of the low MPH group had higher DA levels than control adults (p < 0.05). At both ages, subjects of the low MPH group had higher TH levels than controls (p < 0.05), although neither effect (i.e., higher DA or TH levels) exhibited an apparent dose–response. PND 22 subjects of the high MPH treatment group had higher ratios of HVA/DA and DOPAC/DA than same-age control subjects (p < 0.05). The increased TH levels of the low MPH group may be related to the increased DA levels of adult rats. While developmental MPH treatment appears to have some effects on monoamine system development, further studies are required to determine if these alterations manifest as functional changes in behavior.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/ · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Methylphenidate (MPH) is a stimulant prescribed to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Its primary mechanism of action is in the dopamine system, alterations of which are associated with vulnerability to alcohol abuse. There are concerns that juvenile MPH treatment may influence adult drinking behavior. This study examined the interaction of MPH treatment and environmental rearing conditions, which are known to independently influence ethanol (EtOH) drinking behavior, on anxiety-like behavior and vulnerability to alcohol abuse in a juvenile rodent model.Methods Male Sprague–Dawley rats were housed in enriched, standard, or isolated conditions for 4 weeks, starting at postnatal day 21. Rats were concurrently treated with 8 mg/kg/d MPH or saline, delivered via osmotic minipump. Anxiety-like behavior was determined at the end of the treatment session, and 5 weeks later. After MPH treatment, rats were exposed to a 2-bottle choice EtOH drinking procedure that lasted 3 weeks.ResultsEarly life chronic MPH treatment was associated with greater EtOH intake and greater EtOH preference, but only in socially isolated animals. Isolated animals had greater levels of anxiety-like behavior than standard-housed or enriched animals after 4 weeks of exposure to the housing conditions, a difference that persisted even after all animals had been individually housed for an additional 5 weeks and exposed to EtOH.Conclusions These results suggest that early life MPH treatment may increase vulnerability to EtOH drinking in adulthood in a subset of the population. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of early rearing condition for establishing long-lasting behavioral phenotypes. Environmental histories should be considered when prescribing MPH treatment to young children.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 08/2014; 38(8). DOI:10.1111/acer.12489 · 3.31 Impact Factor