Inflammation: good or bad for ADHD?

  • Rossen Donev
  • Johannes ThomeEmail author
Review Article


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterised by the typical behavioural core symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. ADHD is a usually chronic health conditions, mostly diagnosed in childhood, creating a significant challenge for youth, their families and professionals who treat it. This disorder requires long-term treatments, including psychotherapeutic and pharmacological interventions, which in some cases may lead to adverse effects. Understanding the mechanism by which ADHD risk factors affect the biochemical processes in the human brain and consequentially the behaviour will help to identify novel targets for the development of therapeutics with less adverse results and better efficacy including higher responder rates. Although inflammatory responses in the brain have been recognised for years as critical in neurodegeneration and behaviour in a number of neurological and psychiatric disorders, their role for the development, treatment and prevention of ADHD has been so far largely overlooked, although historically, ADHD symptoms were initially observed in patients who survived an ONJ infection, i.e. inflammation. In this review, we discuss the interrelationship between different ADHD risk factors and inflammation with respect to the triggered molecular mechanisms and the contribution they are likely to have to this disorder. This paper provides a rationale for future studies on ADHD with an intent to inspiring the development of new agents for a more efficient management of this disorder.


ADHD Inflammation Cytokines Apoptosis Neurogenesis Neurodegeneration 


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academic Unit of Psychiatry, The School of MedicineUniversity of Wales SwanseaSwanseaUK

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