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ABSTRACT: Deficiencies in serotonergic (5-HT) neurotransmission have frequently been linked to altered attention and memory processes. With attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) being associated with impaired attention and working memory, this study investigated the effects of a diminished 5-HT turnover achieved by rapid tryptophan depletion (RTD) on attentional performance in children and adolescents with ADHD. Twenty-two male patients with ADHD (aged 9-15 yr) received the RTD procedure Moja-De and a tryptophan (Trp)-balanced placebo (Pla) in a randomized, double-blind, within-subject crossover design on two separate study days. Lapses of attention (LA) and phasic alertness (PA) were assessed within the test battery for attentional performance under depleted and sham-depleted conditions 120 (T1), 220 (T2) and 300 (T3) min after intake of RTD/Pla. At T1 there was a significant main effect for RTD, indicating more LA under intake of a Trp-balanced Pla compared to diminished 5-HT neurotransmission. For T2/T3 there were no such effects. PA was not affected by the factors RTD/Pla and time. Interactions of 5-HT with other neurotransmitters as possible underlying neurochemical processes could be subject to further investigations involving healthy controls as regards altered attentional performance in children and adolescents.
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 03/2010; 13(7):933-41. · 5.64 Impact Factor