Association of dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a high-risk community sample: a longitudinal study from birth to 11 years of age

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2004 Jul;111(7):883-9. doi: 10.1007/s00702-003-0054-2. Epub 2004 Feb 4.


Background: In recent years, a growing number of studies has focused on the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) as mediating the susceptibility to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While their results are contradictory, the reason for this inconsistency remains as yet unclear.

Method: The present study sought to examine the association between ADHD and the DRD4 exon III polymorphism during child development using longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (n = 265, 129 females, 126 males) who have been followed from birth to 11 years of age.

Results: Higher rates of ADHD were observed in boys with the 7 repeat allele of exon III than in boys with other alleles at the ages of 4 1/2 (Fisher's exact test, p = .061), 8 (p = .026), and 11 years (p = .005). Boys with this allele also exhibited higher rates of persistent disorder (p = .024). In girls, a trend towards an association (p = .055) with the 7 repeat allele emerged only at preschool age.

Conclusions: These findings provide additional evidence for the role of the dopamine D4 receptor in ADHD during the course of child development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4
  • Residence Characteristics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors


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