Some children with ADHD also have social and communication difficulties similar to those seen in children with autistic spectrum disorders and this may be due to shared genetic liability. As the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene has been implicated in social cognition and autistic spectrum disorders, this study investigated whether OXTR polymorphisms previously implicated in autism were associated with ADHD and whether they influenced OXTR mRNA expression in 27 normal human amygdala brain samples. The family-based association sample consisted of 450 DSM-IV diagnosed ADHD probands and their parents. Although there was no association with the ADHD phenotype, an association with social cognitive impairments in a subset of the ADHD probands (N=112) was found for SNP rs53576 (F=5.24, p=0.007) with post-hoc tests demonstrating that the AA genotype was associated with better social ability compared to the AG genotype. Additionally, significant association was also found for rs13316193 (F=3.09, p=0.05) with post-hoc tests demonstrating that the CC genotype was significantly associated with poorer social ability than the TT genotype. No significant association between genotype and OXTR mRNA expression was found. This study supports previous evidence that the OXTR gene is implicated in social cognition.
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