Background: Advances in basic and molecular biology have promoted the use of cell
cultures in a wide range of areas, including the evaluation of drug efficacy, safety and toxicity.
Objective: This article aims to provide a general overview of the methodological parameters of cell
cultures used to investigate therapeutic options for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Method: A systematic search was performed in the electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, and
DOAJ. In vitro experimental studies using cell cultures were included.
Results: A total of 328 studies were initially identified, with 16 included for qualitative synthesis.
Seven studies used neuronal cells (SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma and PC12 cell line) and nine used nonneuronal
cells. All the studies described the culture conditions, but most studies were inconsistent
with regard to reporting results and raw data. Only one-third of the studies performed cell viability
assays, while a further 30% conducted gene expression analysis. Other additional tests included
electrophysiological evaluation and transporter activity. More than 50% of the studies evaluated the
effects of drugs such as methylphenidate and atomoxetine, while plant extracts were assessed in
four studies and polyunsaturated fatty acids in one.
Conclusion: We suggested a flowchart to guide the planning and execution of studies, and a checklist
to be completed by authors to allow the standardized reporting of results. This may guide the
elaboration of laboratory protocols and further in vitro studies.