Serotonin genes and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a Brazilian sample: preferential transmission of the HTR2A 452His allele to affected boys

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2007 Jan 5;144B(1):69-73. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.30400.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood. The role of genetic factors in its etiology is strongly supported by family, adoption, and twin studies. Low serotonin activity has been associated in both animal and human studies with measures of impulsivity, aggression, and disinhibited behaviors, which make genes from the serotonin system reasonable candidates for ADHD susceptibility. In the present study, we investigated a polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) and two polymorphisms (-1438 A > G and His452Tyr) in the serotonin 5-HTR2A receptor gene using family based association analyses in a sample of 243 Brazilian ADHD children and adolescents and their parents. No linkage disequilibrium between the two HTR2A polymorphisms was detected in this sample (P = 0.76). Considering several evidences from animal models for sexual dimorphism in serotonin genes expression, analyses were performed separately for the whole sample and for male probands. No evidences for biased transmissions of both HTR2A -1438 A > G and SLC6A4 polymorphisms to ADHD youths were observed. Preferential transmission of the HTR2A His452 allele was observed only in families with affected boys (P = 0.04). Our results suggest that findings from ADHD association studies for serotonin genes might be understood in the context of a gender effect, which may help to explain conflicting results in these association studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / metabolism
  • Brazil
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minisatellite Repeats
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / genetics*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins