2 Scopus citations


Methylphenidate is used widely to treat symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but like other stimulants has significant side effects. This study used a rodent model (spontaneously hypertensive rat) of spatial working memory (sWM) to compare the effects of methylphenidate with the novel dopamine D1-like receptor agonist 2-methyldihydrexidine. Acute oral administration of methylphenidate (1.5 mg/kg) caused sWM improvement in half of the tested rats, but impairment in the others. Both improvement or impairment were eliminated by administration of the D1 antagonist SCH39266 directly into the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Conversely, 2-methyldihydrexi-dine showed greater sWM improvement compared with methylphenidate without significant impairment in any subject. Its effects correlated negatively with vehicle-treated baseline performance (i.e., rats with lower baseline performance improved more than rats with higher baseline performance). These behavioral effects were associated with neural activities in the PFC. Single neuron firing rate was changed, leading to the alteration in neuronal preference to correct or error behavioral responses. Overall, 2-methyldihydrexidine was superior to methylphenidate in decreasing the neuronal preference, prospectively, in the animals whose behavior was improved. In contrast, methylphenidate, but not 2-meth-yldihydrexidine, significantly decreased neuronal preference, retrospectively, in those animals who had impaired performance. These results suggest that a D1 agonist may be more effective than methylphenidate in regulating sWM-related behavior through neural modulation of the PFC, and thus may be superior to methylphenidate or other stimulants as ADHD pharmacotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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