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The psychostimulant methylphenidate (MPD) is currently the most prescribed drug therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is used by students as a cognitive enhancer. The caudate nucleus (CN) is a structure within the motive circuit where MPD exerts its effects, it is known to contain high levels of dopaminergic cells and directly influence motor activity. The objective of this study was to understand the role of CN in response to acute and chronic administration of MPD. Specific and non-specific bilateral ablations were created in the CN using electrolytic lesion and 6-Hydoxydopamine (6-OHDA). Four groups of rats were used: control (n=4), sham (n=4), CN electrolytic lesion group (n=8) and CN 6-OHDA injected group (n=8). On experimental day one (ED 1) all rats received a saline injection and baseline locomotive activity was recorded. On ED 2 and ED 3 CN sham, electrolytic lesion and/or 6-OHDA injected groups were made followed by four to five days recovery (ED 3-7), followed by six daily 2.5 mg/kg MPD injections (ED 9-14), three days of washout (ED 15-17) and an MPD re-challenge of drug proceeding the washout days (ED 18). Locomotor activity was obtained at ED 1, 8, 9, and 18 using an open field assay. The results show that the CN electrolytic lesion group responded to the acute and chronic MPD administration similar to the control and sham group, while the CN 6-OHDA injected group prevented the acute and the chronic effects of MPD administration. One possible interpretation why nonspecific electroyltic lesioning of the CN failed to prevent acute and chronic effects of MPD administration is due to destruction of both the direct and the indirect CN pathways which act as an inhibitory/excitatory balance, electroylticelectroyltic. The selective dopaminergic lesioning prevented the effects of MPD administration suggesting that dopaminergic pathways in CN play a significant role in the effects of MPD. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Catherine M Claussen, Samuel L Chong, Nachum Dafny. Selective bilateral lesion to caudate nucleus modulates the acute and chronic methylphenidate effects. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior. 2012 Apr;101(2):208-16

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PMID: 22260871

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