Neuroinflammation as a possible link between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and pain

Nóra Kerekes, Ana Maria Sanchéz-Pérez, Marc Landry
Medical Hypotheses. 2021-12-01; 157: 110717
DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2021.110717

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Kerekes N(1), Sanchéz-Pérez AM(2), Landry M(3).

Author information:
(1)Department of Health Sciences, University West, Trollhättan 461 86, Sweden.
Electronic address: .
(2)Neurobiotechnology Laboratory, Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of
Advanced Materials (INAM), University Jaume I, Castellon 120 71, Spain.
(3)University of Bordeaux, CNRS, Institute for Neurodegenrative Diseases, IMN,
UMR 5293, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and pathological pain are two complex syndromes of multifactorial origin. Despite their prevalence and broad impacts, these conditions are seldom recognized and managed simultaneously. The co-existence of neuropsychiatric conditions (such as ADHD) and altered pain perception and chronic pain has been noted in children, and the comorbidity of ADHD and chronic pain is well documented in adults. Pathophysiological studies have suggested dysfunction of the dopaminergic system as a common neurochemical basis for comorbid ADHD and pain. Considerable evidence supports the role of neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of both. We suggest that central neuroinflammation underlies altered pain perception and pain sensitization in persons with ADHD. Based on our hypothesis, targeting neuroinflammation may serve as a potential new therapeutic intervention to treat ADHD and comorbid pain in children and adolescents and a preventive strategy for the development of chronic pain in adults with ADHD.

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