Molecular Genetics of attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder: An Overview

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;19(3):237-57. doi: 10.1007/s00787-010-0090-z. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Abstract

As heritability is high in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), genetic factors must play a significant role in the development and course of this disorder. In recent years a large number of studies on different candidate genes for ADHD have been published, most have focused on genes involved in the dopaminergic neurotransmission system, such as DRD4, DRD5, DAT1/SLC6A3, DBH, DDC. Genes associated with the noradrenergic (such as NET1/SLC6A2, ADRA2A, ADRA2C) and serotonergic systems (such as 5-HTT/SLC6A4, HTR1B, HTR2A, TPH2) have also received considerable interest. Additional candidate genes related to neurotransmission and neuronal plasticity that have been studied less intensively include SNAP25, CHRNA4, NMDA, BDNF, NGF, NTF3, NTF4/5, GDNF. This review article provides an overview of these candidate gene studies, and summarizes findings from recently published genome-wide association studies (GWAS). GWAS is a relatively new tool that enables the identification of new ADHD genes in a hypothesis-free manner. Although these latter studies could be improved and need to be replicated they are starting to implicate processes like neuronal migration and cell adhesion and cell division as potentially important in the aetiology of ADHD and have suggested several new directions for future ADHD genetics studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Child
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Malformations of Cortical Development, Group II / genetics
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / genetics
  • Phenotype

Substances

  • Genetic Markers
  • Neurotransmitter Agents