Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a risk factor for repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussions such as those that can occur in contact sports. Individuals with ADHD also appear to have a higher risk of poor neurocognitive outcomes after repetitive mTBI. Findings from clinical studies examining the interactions between ADHD and repetitive mTBI vary, likely because of variabilities in experimental design and outcome measures. We used a mouse model of perinatal nicotine exposure (PNE), which displays behavioral, neuroanatomical, and neurotransmitter features consistent with ADHD and subjected the mice to repetitive mTBI. We used a closed head model of mTBI in awake, unanesthetized mice to mimic concussions in humans. The mTBI was repeated three times daily for seven days. The mice in the PNE-mTBI group took longer to regain consciousness after the mTBI and showed transient novelty-seeking and depression-like behaviors. Before the repetitive mTBI, the mice in the PNE group showed attention deficit, which persisted after the mTBI. The mice in the control (non-PNE) group showed a transient attention deficit after the repetitive mTBI but not any of the other behavioral changes seen in the PNE-mTBI group. These findings from an unanesthetized mouse model with a pre-existing condition show that ADHD and repetitive mTBI together contribute to transient novelty-seeking and depression-like behavior supporting the notion that untreated ADHD may be a risk factor for poor neurocognitive outcomes after concussions.
- concussion, attention
- traumatic brain injury