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Front. Integr. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnint.2018.00045

Dopaminergic Modulation of Goal-Directed Behavior in a Rodent Model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

 Joman Y. Natsheh1, 2, 3* and Michael W. Shiflett1
  • 1Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, United States
  • 2Kessler Foundation, United States
  • 3Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative, Al quds University, Palestine

Aside from its clinical symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, patients with Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) display reward and motivational impairments. These impairments may reflect a deficit in action control, that is, an inability to flexibly adapt behavior to changing consequences. We previously showed that Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR), an inbred rodent model of ADHD, show impairments in goal-directed action control, and instead are predominated by habits. In this study, we examined the effects of specific dopamine receptor sub-type (D1 and D2) agonists and antagonists on goal-directed behavior in SHR and the normotensive inbred control strain Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. Rats acquired an instrumental response for different-flavored food rewards. A selective-satiety outcome devaluation procedure followed by a choice test in extinction revealed outcome-insensitive habitual behavior in SHR rats. Outcome-sensitive goal-directed behavior was restored in SHR rats following injection prior to the choice test of the dopamine D2 receptor agonist Quinpirole or dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390, whereas WKY rats showed habitual responding following exposure to these drugs. This novel finding indicates that the core behavioral deficit in ADHD might not be a consequence of dopamine hypofunction, but rather is due to a misbalance between activation of dopamine D1 and D2 receptor pathways that govern action control.

Keywords: Attention-defcit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR), Wistar Kyoto (WKY), goal-directed behavior, habitual behavior, Action control, Dopamine

Received: 16 Jun 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Martín Cammarota, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Reviewed by:

Nandakumar Narayanan, University of Iowa, United States
Pedro Bekinschtein, Institute of Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience (INCYT), Argentina  

Copyright: © 2018 Natsheh and Shiflett. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Joman Y. Natsheh, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Newark, New Jersey, United States,