The Atxn7-overexpressing mice showed hyperactivity and impulsivity which were ameliorated by atomoxetine treatment: A possible animal model of the hyperactive-impulsive phenotype of ADHD

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Abstract

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by varying levels of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Patients with ADHD are often classified as (1) predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, (2) predominantly inattentive, and (3) combined type. There is a growing interest in developing specific animal models that would recapitulate specific clinical forms of ADHD, with the goal of developing specific therapeutic strategies. In our previous study, we have identified Ataxin-7 (Atxn7) as a hyperactivity-associated gene. Here, we generated Atxn7 overexpressing (Atxn7 OE) mice to investigate whether the increased Atxn7 expression in the brain correlates with ADHD-like behaviors. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence confirmed overexpression of the Atxn7 gene and protein in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatum (STR) of the Atxn7 OE mice. The Atxn7 OE mice displayed hyperactivity and impulsivity, but not inattention. Interestingly, treatment with the ADHD drug, atomoxetine (3 mg/kg, intraperitoneal), attenuated ADHD-like behaviors and reduced Atxn7 gene expression in the PFC and STR of these mice. These findings suggest that Atxn7 plays a role in the pathophysiology of ADHD, and that the Atxn7 OE mice can be used as an animal model of the hyperactive-impulsive phenotype of this disorder. Although confirmatory studies are warranted, the present study provides valuable information regarding the potential genetic underpinnings of ADHD.

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