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Keywords:

  • 6-hydroxydopamine;
  • adenosine receptor;
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • DNA array;
  • dopamine

Abstract

Recently, congenic wiggling (Wig) rats were described as a good model for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; 12- to 14-week-old animals demonstrated hyperactivity, impulsive behaviour and an impaired working memory. Here, we show that 4- to 5-week-old Wig rats displayed significantly greater spontaneous motor activity than control rats during a period of darkness. Subcutaneous injection of 4 mg/kg methamphetamine exacerbated hyperactivity, the reverse of its effect in rats with neonatally induced 6-hydroxydopamine lesions. Immunohistochemistry showed low levels of tyrosine hydroxylase in the ventral midbrain, similar to 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats. In cDNA macroarrays, 4-week-old Wig rats showed increased expression of the adenosine A2a receptor in the dorsal striatum, macrophage migration inhibitory factor in the frontal cortex, ventral striatum and midbrain, and calbindin 2 in the dorsal and ventral midbrain. Expression of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter and sterol carrier protein 2 genes was reduced in all regions. Dopamine transporter gene expression was increased in the dorsal midbrain but decreased in the ventral midbrain, a pattern distinct from that induced by 6-hydroxydopamine. Although abnormal development of dopaminergic neurons may underlie motor hyperactivity, other mechanisms may control responsiveness to methamphetamine. Wig rats may provide a model of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in which treatment with psychostimulants accelerate the hyperactivity.