Manipulation of dopamine metabolism contributes to attenuating innate high locomotor activity in ICR mice

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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as attention deficiency, restlessness and distraction. The main characteristics of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsiveness and carelessness. There is a possibility that these abnormal behaviors, in particular hyperactivity, are derived from abnormal dopamine (DA) neurotransmission. To elucidate the mechanism of high locomotor activity, the relationship between innate activity levels and brain monoamines and amino acids was investigated in this study. Differences in locomotor activity between ICR, C57BL/6J and CBA/N mice were determined using the open field test. Among the three strains, ICR mice showed the greatest amount of locomotor activity. The level of striatal and cerebellar DA was lower in ICR mice than in C57BL/6J mice, while the level of L-tyrosine (L-Tyr), a DA precursor, was higher in ICR mice. These results suggest that the metabolic conversion of L-Tyr to DA is lower in ICR mice than it is in C57BL/6J mice. Next, the effects of intraperitoneal injection of (6R)-5, 6, 7, 8-tetrahydro-l-biopterin dihydrochloride (BH4) (a co-enzyme for tyrosine hydroxylase) and L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) on DA metabolism and behavior in ICR mice were investigated. The DA level in the brain was increased by BH4 administration, but the increased DA did not influence behavior. However, L-DOPA administration drastically lowered locomotor activity and increased DA concentration in several parts of the brain. The reduced locomotor activity may have been a consequence of the overproduction of DA. In conclusion, the high level of locomotor activity in ICR mice may be explained by a strain-specific DA metabolism.

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