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The NK1R-/- mouse phenotype suggests that small body size, with a sex- and diet-dependent excess in body mass and fat, are physical biomarkers for a human endophenotype with vulnerability to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

The abnormal behaviour of NK1R-/- mice (locomotor hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsivity in the 5-Choice Serial Reaction-Time Test) is arguably analogous to that of patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Evidence suggests that small body size and increased body weight are risk factors for ADHD. Here, we compared the body size, body mass and body composition of male and female NK1R-/- mice and their wildtypes that had been fed either standard laboratory chow or a high-fat (45%: ‘Western’) diet. Male NK1R-/- mice from both cohorts were approximately 7% shorter than wildtypes. A similar trend was evident in females. Male NK1R-/- mice fed the normal diet weighed less than wildtypes but the ‘body mass index’ (‘mBMI’: weight (mg)/length (cm)(2)) of female NK1R-/- mice was higher than wildtypes. When given the high-fat diet, the mBMI of both male and female NK1R-/- mice was higher than wildtypes. There were no consistent genotype or sex differences in protein, ash or water content of mice from the two cohorts. However, the fat content of male NK1R-/- mice on the Western diet was considerably (35%) higher than wildtypes and resembled that of females from both genotypes. We conclude that a lack of functional NK1R is associated with small body size but increases vulnerability to an increase in mBMI and fat content, especially in males. This phenotype could also be evident in ADHD patients with polymorphism(s) of the TACR1 gene (the human equivalent of Nk1r).

Ref: J Psychopharmacol. 30: 848-855, 2016.

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Abuse & Dependence, Obesity


Pillidge K, Heal DJ, Stanford SC

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