Objective: To demonstrate that children homozygous for the 10-repeat allele of the common dopamine transporter (DAT1) polymorphism who were exposed to maternal prenatal smoke exhibited significantly higher hyperactivity-impulsivity than children without these environmental or genetic risks.
Study design: We performed a prospective longitudinal study from birth into early adulthood monitoring the long-term outcome of early risk factors. Maternal prenatal smoking was determined during a standardized interview with the mother when the child was 3 months old. At age 15 years, 305 adolescents participated in genotyping for the DAT1 40 base pair variable number of tandem repeats polymorphism and assessment of inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, and oppositional defiant/conduct disorder symptoms with the Kiddie-Sads-Present and Lifetime Version.
Results: There was no bivariate association between DAT1 genotype, prenatal smoke exposure and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, a significant interaction between DAT1 genotype and prenatal smoke exposure emerged (P = .012), indicating that males with prenatal smoke exposure who were homozygous for the DAT1 10r allele had higher hyperactivity-impulsivity than males from all other groups. In females, no significant main effects of DAT1 genotype or prenatal smoke exposure or interaction effects on any symptoms were evident (all P > .25).
Conclusions: This study provides further evidence for the multifactorial nature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the importance of studying both genetic and environmental factors and their interaction.