Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 3739–3754 | Cite as

Exploring the Validity of Proposed Transgenic Animal Models of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • June Bryan de la Peña
  • Irene Joy dela Peña
  • Raly James Custodio
  • Chrislean Jun Botanas
  • Hee Jin Kim
  • Jae Hoon Cheong


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, behavioral, and heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Symptoms of this disorder are managed by treatment with methylphenidate, amphetamine, and/or atomoxetine. The cause of ADHD is unknown, but substantial evidence indicates that this disorder has a significant genetic component. Transgenic animals have become an essential tool in uncovering the genetic factors underlying ADHD. Although they cannot accurately reflect the human condition, they can provide insights into the disorder that cannot be obtained from human studies due to various limitations. An ideal animal model of ADHD must have face (similarity in symptoms), predictive (similarity in response to treatment or medications), and construct (similarity in etiology or underlying pathophysiological mechanism) validity. As the exact etiology of ADHD remains unclear, the construct validity of animal models of ADHD would always be limited. The proposed transgenic animal models of ADHD have substantially increased and diversified over the years. In this paper, we compiled and explored the validity of proposed transgenic animal models of ADHD. Each of the reviewed transgenic animal models has strengths and limitations. Some fulfill most of the validity criteria of an animal model of ADHD and have been extensively used, while there are others that require further validation. Nevertheless, these transgenic animal models of ADHD have provided and will continue to provide valuable insights into the genetic underpinnings of this complex disorder.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD Transgenic Animal model Validity 



This work was supported by Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI12C0011), and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (2016R1D1A1B02010387 and 2015M3C7A1028926). JB de la Peña was also supported under the framework of international cooperation program managed by NRF Korea (NRF-2016K2A9A1A09914265).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uimyung Research Institute for Neuroscience, Department of PharmacySahmyook UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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