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Keywords:

  • Animal model;
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder;
  • delay intolerance;
  • neural plasticity;
  • nucleus accumbens

Methylphenidate (MPH) administration to adolescent rodents produces persistent region-specific changes in brain reward circuits and alterations of reward-based behavior. We show that these modifications include a marked increment of serotonin (5-hydroxy-tryptamine) receptor type 7 (Htr7) expression and synaptic contacts, mainly in the nucleus accumbens, and a reduction of basal behavioral impulsivity. We show that neural and behavioral consequences are functionally related: administration of a selective Htr7 antagonist fully counteracts the MPH-reduced impulsive behavior and enhances impulsivity when administered alone in naive rats. Agonist-induced activation of endogenous Htr7 significantly increases neurite length in striatal neuron primary cultures, thus suggesting plastic remodeling of neuronal morphology. The mixed Htr (1a/7) agonist, 8-OH-DPAT, reduces impulsive behavior in adolescent rats and in naive adults, whose impulsivity is enhanced by the Htr7 antagonist. In summary, behavioral pharmacology experiments show that Htr7 mediates self-control behavior, and brain primary cultures experiments indicate that this receptor may be involved in the underlying neural plasticity, through changes in neuronal cytoarchitecture.