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Neurosci Lett. 2011 Apr 20;494(1):44-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.02.050. Epub 2011 Mar 6.

Caffeine improves attention deficit in neonatal 6-OHDA lesioned rats, an animal model of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Unitat de Farmacologia, Departament de Patologia i Terapèutica Experimental, Facultat de Medicina, Universitat de Barcelona, 08097 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.


Nowadays the pharmacological treatment of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is based on amphetamine derivatives (i.e. methylphenidate). However, these drugs induce a large array of adverse side effects, thus less aggressive psychostimulant drugs (i.e. caffeine) are being proposed in the management of ADHD. Following this tendency, we decided to study the possible therapeutic use of caffeine in an animal model of ADHD, namely the neonatal 6-hydroxy-dopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rat. Therefore, at postnatal day 7 rats were lesioned at the left striatum with 6-OHDA or with saline. Thereafter, at postnatal day 25 their activity and attention were measured with the Olton maze before caffeine was administered ad libitum in the drinking water. Next, after 14 days of caffeine treatment, we repeated these measurements to assess the effect of caffeine on motor activity and attention deficit. Interestingly, while no changes in the motor activity measurements were observed before and after caffeine administration, a significant improvement in the attention deficit of the 6-OHDA lesioned rats was achieved after caffeine treatment. Thus, our results led us to hypothesize that caffeine might be useful to manage the attention deficit during the prepubertal period of ADHD.

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