No clear effects of acute tryptophan depletion on processing affective prosody in male adults with ADHD

Authors

  • M. Grabemann,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Methodology, Diagnostics and Evaluation, Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
    • Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • C. Mette,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • M. Zimmermann,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • V. Heinrich,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • J. Uekermann,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • J. Wiltfang,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • M. Abdel-Hamid,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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  • F. D. Zepf,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
    2. Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine, Jülich Research Center, Jülich, Germany
    3. JARA Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen & Jülich, Germany
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    • These two authors have contributed equally.

  • B. Kis

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Essen, Germany
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    • These two authors have contributed equally.


Marco Grabemann, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, LVR Clinics Essen, Altendorfer Strasse 97-101, 45143 Essen, Germany.

E-mail: marco.grabemann@lvr.de

Abstract

Objective

Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulties processing affective prosody, and research evidence demonstrates the importance of brain serotonin (5-HT) in the neurobiology of ADHD. This study aimed to investigate whether diminished brain 5-HT synthesis, as achieved by acute tryptophan depletion (ATD), can impair the processing of affective prosody in adults with ADHD.

Method

Twenty male patients with ADHD and twenty male healthy controls received ATD and a tryptophan-balanced control condition on separate days in a double-blind within-subject repeated measures crossover design. In both conditions, the Tübingen Affect Battery was administered in which subjects had to name the affective prosody of sentences with neutral, congruent, or incongruent semantic content.

Results

Participants in the group of patients with ADHD perceived affec-tive prosody less accurately than controls. Participants with ADHD showed compromised processing of sentences, committing more errors than healthy controls when identifying affect in instances of incongruent semantic content (= 0.031). ATD did not contribute to this effect (all > 0.5).

Conclusion

The difficulties male adults with ADHD have in accurately processing affective prosody may result from impairments in their ability to inhibit unwanted stimuli and impulses. No clear evidence implicates 5-HT as a cause of these impairments.

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