The dopamine transporter: relevance to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Behav Brain Res. 2002 Mar 10;130(1-2):57-63. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(01)00439-9.


The dopamine transporter is elevated in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with healthy controls [Lancet 354 (1999) 2132]. The findings have been confirmed by others in a different population using a different probe for the dopamine transporter. Notwithstanding the need to confirm these findings in a multi-center trial, several hypotheses are presented to account for these observations. A premise that elevated transporter levels result from medication is not supported by current data. Other possibilities, including hypertrophy of dopamine neuronal terminals in the striatum, dysfunctional regulation of dopamine or dopamine receptors, or anomalies in the dopamine transporter gene are presented as hypotheses. The feasibility of exploring these mechanisms in animal models or in human subjects is explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins