Attoub was not part of the initial 30-man group named earlier this month by new coach Philippe Saint-Andre, but has been drafted in due to Castres' Luc Ducalcon's lack of match-fitness.
The 30-year-old, who received a 70-week ban for an eye-gouging incident during a Heineken Cup match against Ulster in December 2009, has not played for his country since making his debut against Romania in June 2006.
Attoub has just one Test cap, earned against Romania back in 2006, and as a result of his inclusion, there is no place for World Cup finalist Fabien Barcella.
Uncapped Clermont centre Wesley Fofana is also a notable inclusion, adding weight to suggestions that he will form the first-choice midfield combination with club team-mate Aurelien Rougerie.
Former skipper Lionel Nallet, who was recalled as an injury replacement after failing to make the initial squad, is set to add to his 70 caps.
Apart from Ducalcon and Barcella, Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Nyanga, Yann David and Clement Poitrenaud are the other original squad members who fail to make the cut.
France's 23-man squad to face Italy in the Six Nations opener at the Stade de France on February 4 (1430 GMT):
Forwards - D Attoub (Stade Francais), V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), N Mas (Perpignan), J-B Poux (Stade Toulousain), W Servat (Stade Toulousain), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Stade Toulousain), L Nallet (Racing Metro 92), P Pape (Stade Francais), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), T Dusautoir (Stade Toulousain), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz ), L Picamoles (Stade Toulousain).
Backs - M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), D Yachvili (Biarritz), L Beauxis (Stade Toulousain), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), V Clerc (Stade Toulousain), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne), M Medard (Stade Toulousain), M Mermoz (Perpignan), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne).
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