Prefrontal blood flow dysregulation in drug naive ADHD children without structural abnormalities

G. Spalletta, A. Pasini, F. Pau, G. Guido, L. Menghini, C. Caltagirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies suggest a role for prefrontal cortex abnormalities in the pathogenesis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We evaluated young drug-naïve ADHD outpatients without MRI structural abnormalities to detect prefrontal cortex regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) functional dysregulation; correlation between age and rCBF; and correlation between symptoms profile and rCBF. Functional brain activities (i.e. rCBF), neuropsychological attention performance and symptom profile were evaluated respectively by single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan, Stroop Test and the Child Attention Problem Rating Scale. There was a decreased rCBF in the left dorso lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) compared to the right DLPFC of the subjects. In addition, there were positive correlations between age and relative rCBFs of the dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal cortex, and negative correlations between age and absolute rCBFs of the dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal cortex. Finally, higher levels of right relative rCBF and lower levels of left relative rCBF were predictors of higher severity of clinical symptom expression and neuropsychological attention impairment. The results of this study highlight the role of the DLPFC blood flow impairment in the pathogenesis of ADHD even in young subjects without structural abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1216
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • ADHD
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Childhood
  • Neurodevelopment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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