Does repetitive Ritalin injection produce long-term effects on SD female adolescent rats?

Neuropharmacology. 2009 Sep;57(3):201-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Jun 21.


Methylphenidate (MPD), or Ritalin, is a psychostimulant that is prescribed for an extended period of time to children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adolescence is a time of critical brain maturation and development, and the drug exposure during this time could lead to lasting changes in the brain that endure into the adulthood. Circadian rhythms are 24 h rhythms of physiological processes that are synchronized by the master-clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, to keep the body stable in a changing environment. The aim of present study is to observe the effect of repeated MPD exposure on the locomotor diurnal rhythm activity patterns of female adolescent Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats using the open field assay. 31 female adolescent SD rats were divided into four groups: control, 0.6 mg/kg, 2.5 mg/kg, and 10 mg/kg MPD group. On experimental day 1, all groups were given an injection of saline. On experimental days 2-7, animals were injected once a day with either saline, 0.6 mg/kg, 2.5 mg/kg, or 10 mg/kg MPD, and experimental days 8-10 were the washout period. A re-challenge injection was given to each animal on experimental day 11 with the similar dose as the experimental days 2-7. The locomotor movements were counted by the computerized animal activity monitoring system. The data were analyzed statistically to find out whether the diurnal rhythm activity patterns were altered. The obtained data showed that repeated administrations of 2.5 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg MPD were able to change the locomotor diurnal rhythm patterns, which suggests that these MPD doses exerts long-term effects.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Methylphenidate / administration & dosage*
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate