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Noise benefit in prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex.

Journal article
Authors Erik Pålsson
Göran Söderlund
Daniel Klamer
Filip Bergquist
Published in Psychopharmacology
Volume 214
Issue 3
Pages 675-685
ISSN 1432-2072
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 675-685
Language en
Keywords Spontaneously hypertensive rat - Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - Acoustic startle - Prepulse inhibition - White noise - Stochastic resonance - Dopamine - Methylphenidate - Microdialysis - Prefrontal cortex
Subject categories Pharmacology, Experimental brain research, Child and adolescent psychiatry


RATIONALE: Under some conditions, external sensory noise enhances cognitive functions, a phenomenon possibly involving stochastic resonance and/or enhanced central dopamine transmission. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex is a robust measure of sensorimotor gating and can be modulated by activity in the cortex and basal ganglia, including the central dopamine pathways. OBJECTIVES: Previous empirical studies suggest a differential effect of acoustic noise in normal children and children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study investigated the effect of acoustic noise on PPI and if dopamine transmission interacts with acoustic noise effects in a rat ADHD model. METHODS: The effect of background acoustic noise on acoustic startle response and PPI were measured with a constant prepulse to background noise ratio of 9 dB(A). Spontaneously hypertensive (SH) rats were used as the ADHD model and compared with Wistar and Sprague-Dawley rats. Microdialysis, methylphenidate treatment and 6-OHDA lesions were used to investigate interaction with dopamine transmission. RESULTS: Background noise facilitated PPI differently in SH rats and controls. The prefrontal cortex in SH rats had low basal dopamine concentrations, a high DOPAC/dopamine ratio and blunted dopamine release during PPI testing. Methylphenidate had small, but strain-specific, effects on startle and PPI. Bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions did not alter startle or PPI. CONCLUSIONS: Prefrontal dopamine transmission is altered in SH rats during the sensorimotor gating task of PPI of the acoustic startle, indicating increased dopamine reuptake in this ADHD rat model. We propose that noise benefit could be explored as a non-pharmacological alternative for treating neuropsychiatric disorders.

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