Association between Polygenic Risk Scores for ADHD and Asthma: A Birth Cohort Investigation

J Atten Disord. 2022 Mar;26(5):685-695. doi: 10.1177/10870547211020111. Epub 2021 Jun 2.


Objective: Shared genetic mechanisms have been hypothesized to explain the comorbidity between ADHD and asthma. To evaluate their genetic overlap, we relied on data from the 1982 Pelotas birth cohort to test the association between polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for ADHD (ADHD-PRSs) and asthma, and PRSs for asthma (asthma-PRSs) and ADHD.

Method: We analyzed data collected at birth, 2, 22, and 30 years from 3,574 individuals.

Results: Subjects with ADHD had increased risk of having asthma (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.01-3.66). The association was stronger for females. Our results showed no evidence of association between ADHD-PRSs and asthma or asthma-PRSs and ADHD. However, an exploratory analysis suggested that adult ADHD might be genetically associated with asthma.

Conclusion: Our results do not support a shared genetic background between both conditions. Findings should be viewed in light of important limitations, particularly the sample size and the self-reported asthma diagnosis. Studies in larger datasets are required to better explore the genetic overlap between adult ADHD and asthma.

Keywords: asthma; comorbidity; epidemiology; genetics; polygenic risk scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Asthma* / genetics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / genetics
  • Birth Cohort
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report