Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the dopamine D4 receptor gene: evidence of association but no linkage in a UK sample

Mol Psychiatry. 2001 Jul;6(4):440-4. doi: 10.1038/


Recent studies report association and linkage between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the 7-repeat allele of a 48 base-pair repeat in the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4). We examined the frequency of this allele in a sample of probands with DSM-IV ADHD using a case-control design, as well as the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) and haplotype-based haplotype relative risk (HHRR) in the subset of probands with DNA available from both parents. One hundred and thirty-two ADHD probands were compared with 189 controls (chi(2) = 6.17, 1 df, P = 0.01, OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.11--2.71). A total of 85 complete trios were available for within-family tests of association and linkage. Fifty-two heterozygous parents carrying one copy of the 7-repeat were informative for the TDT (29 transmitted vs 23 non-transmitted, chi(2) = 0.69). Analysis of the entire sample of 132 probands using TRANSMIT provided no additional evidence for excess transmission of the 7-repeat allele (58 transmitted vs 54 non-transmitted). HHRR gave similar results. We conclude that the case-control findings are likely to be falsely positive, resulting from genetic stratification. However we can not rule out alternative explanations of low statistical power and gene-environment correlation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Exons
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Male
  • Minisatellite Repeats*
  • Parents
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk
  • Software
  • United Kingdom


  • DRD4 protein, human
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4