Acoustic noise improves motor learning in spontaneously hypertensive rats, a rat model of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBehavioural Brain Research 2015, 280(1 March):84-91 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.11.032
The spontaneously hypertensive (SH) rat model of ADHD displays impaired motor learning. We used this characteristic to study if the recently described acoustic noise benefit in learning in children with ADHD is also observed in the SH rat model. SH rats and a Wistar control strain were trained in skilled reach and rotarod running under either ambient noise or in 75 dBA white noise. In other animals the effect of methylphenidate (MPH) on motor learning was assessed with the same paradigms. To determine if acoustic noise influenced spontaneous motor activity, the effect of acoustic noise was also determined in the open field activity paradigm. We confirm impaired motor learning in the SH rat compared to Wistar SCA controls. Acoustic noise restored motor learning in SH rats learning the Montoya reach test and the rotarod test, but had no influence on learning in Wistar rats. Noise had no effect on open field activity in SH rats, but increased corner time in Wistar. MPH completely restored rotarod learning and performance but did not improve skilled reach in the SH rat. It is suggested that the acoustic noise benefit previously reported in children with ADHD is shared by the SH rat model of ADHD, and the effect is in the same range as that of stimulant treatment. Acoustic noise may be useful as a non-pharmacological alternative to stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD.