Pain hypersensitivity in a pharmacological mouse model of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Otmane Bouchatta, Franck Aby, Wahiba Sifeddine, Rabia Bouali-Benazzouz, Louison Brochoire, Houria Manouze, Pascal Fossat, Saadia Ba M’Hamed, Mohamed Bennis, Marc Landry
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 2022-07-19; 119(30):
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2114094119

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Clinical evidence suggests that pain hypersensitivity develops in patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the mechanisms and neural circuits involved in these interactions remain unknown because of the paucity of studies in animal models. We previously validated a mouse model of ADHD obtained by neonatal 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injection. Here, we have demonstrated that 6-OHDA mice exhibit a marked sensitization to thermal and mechanical stimuli, suggesting that phenotypes associated with ADHD include increased nociception. Moreover, sensitization to pathological inflammatory stimulus is amplified in 6-OHDA mice as compared to shams. In this ADHD model, spinal dorsal horn neuron hyperexcitability was observed. Furthermore, ADHD-related hyperactivity and anxiety, but not inattention and impulsivity, are worsened in persistent inflammatory conditions. By combining in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, and behavioral analyses, we demonstrated that anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) hyperactivity alters the ACC–posterior insula circuit and triggers changes in spinal networks that underlie nociceptive sensitization. Altogether, our results point to shared mechanisms underlying the comorbidity between ADHD and nociceptive sensitization. This interaction reinforces nociceptive sensitization and hyperactivity, suggesting that overlapping ACC circuits may be targeted to develop better treatments.

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