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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009 Oct;19(10):693-701. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2009.02.005. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Intranasal application of dopamine reduces activity and improves attention in Naples High Excitability rats that feature the mesocortical variant of ADHD.

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Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, II University of Naples, Naples, Italy.


Based on findings of a profound action of intranasally applied dopamine (DA) on dopamine release in the striatum, we examined the possibility that intranasal application of DA would influence indices of attention and activity in juvenile male rats of the Naples High Excitability line. This rat model features the main aspects of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Juvenile NHE rats received an intranasal application of either DA (0.075 mg/kg, 0.15 mg/kg and 0.3 mg/kg) or vehicle into both nostrils daily for 15 days. On day 14, 1 h after treatment, they were tested in the Làt maze, and one day later, in the eight arm radial maze. Activity in the Làt maze: The highest dose of DA (0.3 mg/kg) decreased horizontal (HA) and vertical (VA) activity during the first 10 min of the test. No effect was found for rearing duration (RD), which indexes non-selective attention (NSA). Activity in the radial maze: No treatment effects were found for HA and VA components, and for RD. Attention indices: The intermediate dose of DA (0.15 mg/kg) significantly improved the number of arms visited before the first repetitive arm entry in the radial maze, an index of selective spatial attention (SSA). In conclusion, intranasal application of DA reduced hyperactivity at the highest dose used, whereas the intermediate dose improved attention in an animal model of ADHD. These results suggest the potential of employing intranasal DA for therapeutic purposes.

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