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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Apr;75(1):67-73.

Methylphenidate-induced motor activity in rats: modulation by melatonin and vasopressin.

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Institute of Neurophysiology, Otto-von-Guericke University, Leipziger Strasse 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.


Methylphenidate (MPH), a dopamine (DA) reuptake inhibitor, is well known to enhance motor activity, in part depending on the time of its application during the light-dark cycle. Moreover, after MPH administration, the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial axis including the neuropeptide vasopressin (AVP) was found influenced. Both the latter and behavioural effects of central AVP can also be modulated by the pineal gland with its light-dark-dependent activity. The present study was performed to investigate whether the pineal gland, its hormone melatonin (Mel), and AVP are involved in the MPH-evoked stimulation of activity. After application of 10 mg/kg MPH, the motor activity in pinealectomised (PE) rats was significantly higher than in sham-operated (SO) animals. After application of 250 microg Mel before MPH treatment, the stimulation of motor activity was diminished in PE rats and augmented in SO animals; however, when SO and PE rats were compared after Mel pretreatment, the reaction to MPH was nearly identical. Blocking the endogenous AVP by 25 or 1 microg of the V1a receptor antagonist d(CH(2))(5)[Tyr(Me)(2)]AVP (AAVP) before MPH treatment significantly augmented the motor activity in SO rats only and abolished the differences seen between SO and PE animals after MPH application. The present results indicate that the behavioural stimulation of MPH was modulated by both the pineal gland with its hormone Mel as well as the neuropeptide AVP.

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