Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHAD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects children and adolescents with a high prevalence. Despite its prevalence and an unclear etiology, previous reports suggest that it is closely related to homocysteine metabolism. Male Sprague Dawley rats were administered with homocysteine from postnatal day (PD) 2 to PD 16. Locomotor activity was evaluated at 35 PD (prepuberal age) and 60 PD (adult age) before and after amphetamine administration. In rats evaluated at both ages, homocysteine induced hyperactivity, and the amphetamine administration reduced hyperactivity significantly at 35 PD, but not at 60 PD. In the social interaction test, homocysteine reduced the number of contacts and increased the latency to the first contact only in rats at 35 PD. Homocysteine also had an effect on short term memory at 35D and 60 PD and long-term memory at 60 PD. Morphological changes were found mainly in the shape of dendritic spines in the prefrontal cortex (PFC-3), dorsal hippocampus (CA1), dentate gyrus (DG) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc), in rats administered neonatally with homocysteine at both ages studied. In prepuberal and adult rats, there was an increase in dendritic length in DG and NAcc, respectively. The dendritic spine morphology also was altered at both ages, mainly decreasing the number of mushroom spines in NAcc and CA1 at 30 PD and in all the areas studied at 60 PD rats. Those areas are associated with the processes of attention, learning and memory that were studied, and those alterations are possibly related to changes observed in the behavioral tests. These behavioral and morphological changes in rats at 35 PD administered with homocysteine could be similar to changes found in children diagnosed with ADHD. Moreover, half to two thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD reach adulthood with this disorder. In this study we found similarities with ADHD, finding alterations in both rats at 35 PD and 60 PD. So, this may be proposed as an animal model to study this disorder present in children, adolescents and adults.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity
- Dendritic spines
- Limbic regions
- Memory and learning