OCT 30, 2019 1:06 PM PDT

Investigating a common therapeutic in ADHD treatment

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a widespread condition with variable underlying causes. A common therapeutic, called methylphenidate, seeks to treat symptoms of ADHD by moderating the brain's dopamine level which is a neurotransmitter involved reward systems. But, the exact mechanism to how methylphenidate works remains largely understood.

Learn more about ADHD:

"We know quite a bit about how methylphenidate works at the molecular level, but not how it affects greater neural systems. It's still a mystery how this drug improves symptoms of ADHD," said Professor Jeff Wickens of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)'s Neurobiology Research Unit. "This mystery leads us to explore how different parts of the brain interact to produce therapeutic effects."

To examine its therapeutic effects, researchers investigated the action of the drug in rat models. Researchers used dopamine cell recordings, electrochemical monitoring and computer modeling to bring renewed knowledge on methylphenidate's therapeutic actions in ADHD.

"When you use methylphenidate in the intact brain there's a neural regulation mechanism to compensate for the direct effects of the drug," said Wickens. "Methylphenidate's therapeutic effects could be indirect consequences of this feedback loop."

Findings were published in Progress in Neurobiology and describes how researcher’s administered a concentration of 5.0 mg/kg to a group of adult male rats while the control received no drugs. Researchers first believed that methylphenidate blocks the reuptake of dopamine by receptors in the brain and that should increase the phasic dopamine signal. However, what happened instead was the opposite--methylphenidate decreased the phasic dopamine signal.

Professor Jeff Wickens and technician Kavinda Liyanagama study data from experiments looking at dopamine release in rat brains. Credit: OIST.edu

Computer analysis suggests that methylphenidate mainly affects the tonic dopamine signal and shifts in such signal may improve ADHD symptoms. Researchers are now hopeful to continue their studies in animal models of ADHD and examine feedback loops under such conditions.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
APR 15, 2020
Immunology
APR 15, 2020
Does COVID-19 Attack the Immune System like HIV?
Researchers from the US and China have found that COVID-19 can destroy T cells, a type of lymphocyte that plays a key ro ...
APR 17, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 17, 2020
Fish Tank Chemicals Aren't COVID-19 Medication, Says FDA
While the medical community is scrambling to find the proper medications for Sars-CoV-02 infection, a significant portio ...
APR 21, 2020
Immunology
APR 21, 2020
A Nasal Vaccine Against Tau Tangles
  One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the accumulation of “tau tangles”. Tau is a ...
MAY 07, 2020
Cancer
MAY 07, 2020
Yet Another Cancer Linked Tyrosine Kinase
In a cell, there are tens of thousands of individual components. Each component has a specific activity or role that the ...
MAY 13, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 13, 2020
Approved Treatment for RET-mutant Cancers
A drug was recently approved for treating three types of RET-mutant cancers: 1) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 2) ad ...
MAY 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 26, 2020
Everyone Can Produce Antibodies Against COVID-19
Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York have found that most people exposed to COVID-19, and who experience sy ...
Loading Comments...