Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie

Methylphenidate clinically oral doses improved brain and heart glutathione redox status and evoked renal and cardiac tissue injury in rats.

PMID 29482048


Methylphenidate (MPH) is a first-line stimulant drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Overdiagnosis of ADHD and MPH abuse lead to serious concerns about the possible long-term adverse consequences of MPH in healthy children and adolescents. We aimed to evaluate MPH effects in adolescent male Wistar rats (postnatal day 40) using an oral dose scheme (2 daily MPH doses 5 mg/kg in a 5% sucrose solution, 5 h apart, for 7 days) that mimics the therapeutic doses given to human adolescents. Twenty-four hours after the last MPH administration, rats were sacrificed and brain areas [cerebellum, prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus, and striatum], peripheral organs (liver, heart, and kidneys), and blood were collected for biochemical and histological analysis. MPH treatment did not alter rats' body temperature or weight, neither food or water intake throughout the experiment. The ratio of reduced glutathione/oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG) significantly increased in the PFC and hippocampus of MPH-treated rats, meanwhile protein carbonylation remained unchanged in the brain. In the heart, the GSH/GSSG ratio and GSH levels were significantly increased, with decreased GSSG, while histology revealed significant damage, namely interstitial edema, vascular congestion, and presence of a fibrin-like material in the interstitial space. In the kidneys, MPH treatment resulted in extensive necrotic areas with cellular disorganization and cell infiltration, and immunohistochemistry analysis revealed a marked activation of nuclear factor-ĸB. This study showed that clinically relevant oral MPH doses improve the GSH redox status in the brain and heart, but evoke heart and kidney tissue damage to adolescent rats.