Effects of atomoxetine on attention in Wistar rats treated with the neurotoxin N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP4)

  • Joachim HauserEmail author
  • Andreas Reissmann
  • Thomas-A. Sontag
  • Oliver Tucha
  • Klaus W. Lange
Original Article


The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of the neurotoxin N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP4), which allows a depletion of noradrenergic terminals in a dose-dependent manner, on attention in rats as measured using the five-choice serial-reaction time task (5CSRTT). In addition, we investigated whether the effects of DSP4 treatment can be reversed by atomoxetine. Atomoxetine is a selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Wistar rats were trained in the 5CSRTT and treated with one of the three doses of DSP4 (10, 20 or 50 mg/kg) or saline. Following DSP4 treatment, rats were injected with three doses of atomoxetine (0.1, 0.5 or 1 mg/kg) or saline and tested in the 5CSRTT. The treatment with DSP4 caused a reduction in activity and a decline of performance in parameters related to attention in the 5CSRTT. Whether or not these impairments are due to attention deficits or changes in explorative behaviour and activity remains to be investigated. The treatment with atomoxetine had no beneficial effect on the rats’ performance regardless of the DSP4 treatment. The present findings support the role of noradrenaline in modulating attentional processes and call for future studies regarding the effects of atomoxetine on attention in rats.


Atomoxetine Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine DSP4 Rat 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All experiments were performed in accordance with the national laws (German law on Protection of Animals) and the principles of laboratory animal care (NIH publication No. 86- 23, revised 1996). The experimental protocol was approved by the District Government of the Oberpfalz/Bavaria (Permit number 54-2531.1-14/07). The rats were handled according to the guidelines of the Federation for European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Hauser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Reissmann
    • 1
  • Thomas-A. Sontag
    • 1
  • Oliver Tucha
    • 2
  • Klaus W. Lange
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Developmental NeuropsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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