The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology


Stimulant-like action of nicotine on striatal dopamine transporter in the brain of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Klaus-Henning  Krause  a1 c1, Stefan H.  Dresel  a2, Johanna  Krause  a3, Hank F.  Kung  a4, Klaus  Tatsch  a2 and Manfred  Ackenheil  a5
a1 Friedrich-Baur-Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 80336 Munich, Germany
a2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 80336 Munich, Germany
a3 Outpatient Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 85521 Ottobrunn, Germany
a4 Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
a5 Department of Neurochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 80336 Munich, Germany

Article author query
krause k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dresel s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
krause j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kung h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
tatsch k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ackenheil m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Eleven adult patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without medication, consuming 7–40 cigarettes per day, showed statistically significant lower values for striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) measured by [99mTc]TRODAT-1 SPECT compared to 11 non-smoking drug-naive patients with ADHD, matched for sex and age, despite higher ADHD scores for the smokers. Because stimulants have been shown to reduce primarily elevated DAT density in adults with ADHD, it can be suggested that nicotine acts in a similar way on striatal DAT as do stimulants.

(Received October 24 2001)
(Reviewed January 13 2002)
(Revised February 14 2002)
(Accepted February 17 2002)

Key Words: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); dopamine transporter; nicotine; single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); TRODAT-1.

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr K.-H. Krause, Friedrich-Baur-Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Ziemssenstr. 1a, D-80336 Munich, Germany. Tel.: +49 89 51607473 Fax: +49 89 51607402 E-mail: