Invited Symposium: What Can Genetic Models Tell Us About Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?



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A Behavioral Validation of the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR) as an Animal Model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

Sagvolden, T. (Department of Physiology, University of Oslo, Norway)

Contact Person: Terje Sagvolden (terje.sagvolden@basalmed.uio.no)


In clinical research there are several advantages associated with animal models of disorders. The researcher deals with a simpler system yielding data that may be easier to interpret than the full-blown clinical case, the groups may be genetically more homogeneous, environmental control is simpler, interventions of various sorts are possible, etc. It is argued that the best model of AD/HD is the one that (a) best mimics, although in a simpler form than the full-blown clinical case, the fundamentals of the behavioral characteristics in this case of people with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD; face validity), (b) is able to predict aspects of AD/HD behavior, genetics and neurobiology previously uncharted in the clinics (predictive validity) and (c) conforms with a theoretical rationale for AD/HD (construct validity). This presentation discusses the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR) and other putative animal models of AD/HD. It is argued that although other strains and species may be hyperactive and/or show attention deficits following genetic, environmental or pharmacological interventions, the SHR is presently the only strain shown to have the major behavioral symptoms of AD/HD. This does not mean that investigating other animals cannot give valuable information. E.g., comparing the SHR (impulsive, hyperactive, deficient in sustained attention as well as hypertensive), with WKHA (hyperactive), WKHT (hypertensive) and WKY controls may give very valuable insight into the genetics, neurobiology, physiology and behavior of hypertension, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, deficient sustained attention and possibly altered reinforcement processes.

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Presentation Number SAsagvolden0567
Keywords: ADHD, hyperkinesia, reinforcement, ritalin, dopamine

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Sagvolden, T.; (1998). A Behavioral Validation of the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR) as an Animal Model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/sadile/sagvolden0567/index.html
© 1998 Author(s) Hold Copyright