Repeated methylphenidate administration during lactation reduces maternal behavior, induces maternal tolerance, and increases anxiety-like behavior in pups in adulthood.
Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2015 Jul-Aug;50:64-72. Epub 2015 May 25. PMID: 26022000
R A Ponchio
Methylphenidate (MPD) is a dopamine uptake inhibitor and the most commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Several studies have shown that such stimulants as cocaine and amphetamine that are administered during gestation and lactation may disrupt maternal behavior. Also, MPD is used in lactation. Repeated MPD administration can induce either sensitization or tolerance. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether repeated MPD administration alters maternal behavior and promotes tolerance or sensitization in these females. The effects in adult offspring were also examined in models of anxiety. Methylphenidate (5mg/kg) was administered from lactation day 2 to 4, and maternal pup retrieval behavior was assessed. This treatment was continued until lactation day 7. At weaning, the dams received a challenge dose of MPD, and general activity was evaluated in the open field. Striatal monoamine and metabolite levels were also measured to determine whether this treatment promotes behavioral or biochemical plasticity. The long-term behavioral effects of MPD exposure were evaluated in pups in adulthood. The results showed an increase in the latency to retrieve the first, second, and third pups and a decrease in the number of dams that retrieved all pups. After a challenge dose of MPD, the dams exhibited a decrease in locomotion frequency, an increase in immobility duration in the open field, and a decrease in striatal serotonin levels. In pups, anxiety-like behavior increased in the light/dark box test. These results indicate that repeated MPD administration during early lactation impairs maternal behavior, likely by decreasing maternal motivation. Repeated MPD administration induced maternal tolerance at weaning after a challenge dose of MPD, suggesting the development of central nervous system plasticity. In pups, maternal exposure to MPD during early lactation induced long-term effects and increased anxiety-like behavior in adulthood.