Associations between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and genetic polymorphisms in the dopamine receptors, transporter and metabolizing enzymes have been reported in different ethnic groups. Gene variants may affect disease outcome by acting synergistically or antagonistically and thus their combined effect becomes an important aspect to study in the disease etiology. In the present investigation, interaction between ten functional polymorphisms in DRD4, DAT1, MAOA, COMT, and DBH genes were explored in the Indo-Caucasoid population. ADHD cases were recruited based on DSM-IV criteria. Peripheral blood samples were collected from ADHD probands (N=126), their parents (N=233) and controls (N=96) after obtaining informed written consent for participation. Genomic DNA was subjected to PCR based analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms and variable number of tandem repeats (VNTRs). Data obtained was examined for population as well as family-based association analyses. While case-control analysis revealed higher occurrence of DAT1 intron 8 VNTR 5R allele (P=0.02) in cases, significant preferential transmission of the 7R-T (DRD4 exon3 VNTR-rs1800955) and 3R-T (MAOA-u VNTR-rs6323) haplotypes were noticed from parents to probands (P=0.02 and 0.002 respectively). Gene-gene interaction analysis revealed significant additive effect of DBH rs1108580 and DRD4 rs1800955 with significant main effects of DRD4 exon3 VNTR, DAT1 3'UTR and intron 8 VNTR, MAOA u-VNTR, rs6323, COMT rs4680, rs362204, DBH rs1611115 and rs1108580 thereby pointing towards a strong association of these markers with ADHD. Correlation between gene variants, high ADHD score and low DBH enzymatic activity was also noticed, especially in male probands. From these observations, an impact of the studied sites on the disease etiology could be speculated in this ethnic group.
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