Reduced response-inhibition capacity is a defining feature of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The fixed minimum interval (FMI) schedule has been systematically validated to assess such capacity in rats. On each FMI trial, the first lever press initiates an inter-response time (IRT); a potentially consummatory response terminates the IRT; only IRTs longer than a target interval result in access to food. Despite task validity, steady-state FMI performance in the most common animal model of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), is similar to normotensive control performance, even though SHR performs at lower levels, especially during acquisition, in similar response-withholding tasks. To determine whether such limitations of the model are specific to stable-state performance, this experiment compared FMI 6-s performance in SHR and Wistar rats during acquisition and in steady state, and assessed the effect of acute D-amphetamine (AMP) administration (0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg) on steady-state performance. Median latencies to first lever press were consistently shorter in SHR than in Wistar rats; IRTs were shorter for SHR than for Wistar rats during acquisition, but substantially less so during asymptotic performance. AMP dose-dependently reduced latencies, shortened IRTs, and, at the highest dose, increased the proportion of IRTs under schedule control. These results suggest that, relative to Wistar rats, SHR have a reduced capacity to learn to withhold a reinforced response; once the FMI is acquired, high doses of D-AMP disrupt withholding performance in both strains, but they also enhance the responsiveness of both strains to reinforcement contingencies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health