Chronic methylphenidate preferentially alters catecholamine protein targets in the parietal cortex and ventral striatum
The psychostimulant methylphenidate (MPH) is the primary drug treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. MPH is well known to acutely block the dopamine (DAT) and noradrenaline (NET) transporters. Its effect on additional catecholamine targets is however less known. This study was aimed at comparing the effects of acute (2 mg/kg, i.p.) and chronic (2 mg/kg twice daily for 2 weeks) MPH treatment to young rats on key catecholamine protein targets in brain regions implicated in the symptoms and treatment of ADHD. For this purpose, the density of DAT, NET, the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), the rate limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and the dopamine D1 receptor were measured in frontal (FC), parietal cortex (PCx) and the dorsal (DS) and ventral (VS) striatum. The data demonstrate that the effects of MPH depend on duration of treatment and brain region investigated. With the exception of DAT in the VS our results indicate that chronic but not acute administration of MPH increases levels of DAT, NET, TH, VMAT2 and D1. These effects were further more prominent in the VS over DS and in the PCx compared to the FC. In addition, chronic MPH enhanced DAT levels in the left DS but not in right side. To summarize, this study shows new evidence that chronic MPH to young rats preferentially alters catecholamine targets in PCx and VS over DS and FC. The effect of chronic MPH to increase levels of DAT, NET and VMAT2 suggests that the drug might long-term loose some of its acute action to increase extracellular levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. In conclusion, these findings provide novel insights into the mechanism of action by MPH in the treatment of ADHD and further suggest that the long-term effectiveness of the stimulant drug could be limited.
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Citation : Quansah, E. and Zetterström, T.S.C., (2019) Chronic methylphenidate preferentially alters catecholamine protein targets in the parietal cortex and ventral striatum. Neurochemistry International, 124, pp. 193-199
Research Group : Pharmacology and Neuroscience Research Group
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester School of Pharmacy