(dailyRx News) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects how the brain operates. Researchers have discovered that ADHD is linked to a protein found in the intestine, a finding that could lead to new treatments.
Researchers now know that ADHD shares a protein that's involved in intestinal functions and plays a role in diarrheal disease. The protein - guanylyl cyclase-C (GC-C) - that's found primarilly in the intestine may become a target for new ADHD treatments.
In this study, which was a collaborative effort between scientists in China and the United States, the GC-C receptor was deleted or knocked out in specially developed mice. These mice showed signs of hyperactivity and attention problems.
This essentially demonstrated the link between GC-C and neuropsychiatric disorders, including ADHD.
When the modified mice were treated with an ADHD amphetamine medication and another substance that activates dopamine in the brain, researchers were able to regulate the animal's activity and attention levels.
ADHD has associated with imbalances in the brain's dopamine system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls brain signals and plays a role in a number of neurological disorders.
The U.S. study author, Mitchell Cohen, M.D., director of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, says this biochemical pathway could become the target of new treatments not only for ADHD, but other diorders ranging from addiction and schizophrenia to Parkinson's disease.
The Chinese study was led by senior author, Dr. Minmin Luo, a researcher at the National Institute of Biological Sciences and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
This research was published in the journal Science.