Different patterns of local brain energy metabolism associated with high and low doses of methylphenidate. Relevance to its action in hyperactive children

Biol Psychiatry. 1987 Feb;22(2):126-38. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(87)90223-x.


Rates of local cerebral glucose utilization were measured by means of the quantitative autoradiographic [14C]deoxyglucose technique in conscious rats following the acute administration of methylphenidate hydrochloride (1.25-15.0 mg/kg). Significant dose-dependent alterations in metabolic activity were found in the components of the extrapyramidal system, including the substantia nigra, subthalamic nucleus, and the entopeduncular nucleus, as well as in the lateral habenula. Significant changes were also observed in the nucleus accumbens and olfactory tubercle, but occurred only following administration of low doses of methylphenidate. Comparison of the patterns of metabolic activity observed in this study with those obtained following the administration of other psychostimulant drugs suggests possible substrates for the therapeutic action of methylphenidate in the treatment of hyperactive children.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Extrapyramidal Tracts / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Limbic System / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Regional Blood Flow


  • Methylphenidate
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Glucose