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July 1978

Methylphenidate in 6-Hydroxydopamine-Treated Developing Rat Pups: Effects on Activity and Maze Performance

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(7):463-469. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500310065014

• In order to better define the relationship between brain catecholaminergic mechanisms and the clinical syndrome of minimal brain dysfunction, we have developed an experimental model that has many of the features of the disorder seen in children. This model is effected by the preferential depletion of brain dopamine in 5-day-old rat pups following the intracisternal administration of 6-hydroxydopamine, and in the present investigation, we have examined the effects of methylphenidate hydrochloride (0.25 to 2.0 mg/ kg) on activity levels and cognitive performance in normal and 6-hydroxydopamine treated animals. Methylphenidate therapy resulted in a significant increase in activity levels of normal rat pups 12 and 19 days of age; in contrast, methylphenidate administered to 6-hydroxydopaminetreated animals did not increase activity at 12 days of age and significantly reduced activity at 19 and 26 days. Methylphenidate had no effect on T-maze performance in normals, but significantly improved performance in 6-hydroxydopamine-treated animals. Our results suggest that the "paradoxical" response to methylphenidate found in 6-hydroxydopaminetreated rat pups may be the result of central denervation supersensitivity.

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