Original article| Volume 60, ISSUE 11, P1171-1180, December 01, 2006

Preadolescent Methylphenidate versus Cocaine Treatment Differ in The Expression of Cocaine-Induced Locomotor Sensitization During Adolescence and Adulthood

  • Réjean M. Guerriero
    Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
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  • Margaret M. Hayes
    Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston

    Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
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  • Sharon K. Dhaliwal
    Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
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  • Jia-Qian Ren
    Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
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  • Barry E. Kosofsky
    Address reprint requests to Barry E. Kosofsky, M.D., Ph.D., Division Of Child Neurology, Weill-Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital, 525 East 68th Street, Box 91, New York, NY 10021.
    Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston

    Division Of Pediatric Neurology, Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology, and Neuroscience, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical College, New York, New York.
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      Methylphenidate (MPH), the most commonly prescribed medication for childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), shares chemical and mechanistic similarities to cocaine which has stimulated research to address the addiction liability following treatment.


      Utilizing locomotor sensitization we examined the consequences of recurrent MPH versus cocaine treatment during preadolescence in altering cocaine-induced locomotor behavior in adolescent and adult mice. Black Swiss Webster mice were treated with MPH, cocaine, or saline during preadolescence. To test whether MPH pretreatment during preadolescence contributed to an altered sensitivity to cocaine during adolescence, these mice were treated with recurrent cocaine or saline during adolescence. All mice were challenged with cocaine as adults.


      Recurrent MPH treatment, unlike cocaine treatment in preadolescent mice, had no effect on locomotor sensitization to cocaine during adolescence or adulthood, as compared with saline controls. Furthermore, unlike cocaine, administration of MPH in adolescence did not augment the response to cocaine challenge.


      MPH treatment during preadolescence does not increase subsequent sensitivity to cocaine, whereas cocaine treatment does. Thus, MPH treatment during preadolescence does not appear to persistently induce long-term adaptations, which may underlie an enhanced liability for subsequent drug abuse.

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