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Am J Med Genet. 2001 Mar 8;105(2):159-62.

Linkage study of the alpha2A adrenergic receptor in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder families.

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Department of Psychiatry, Division of Cellular and Molecular Biology, The Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Canada.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood psychiatric disorder, characterized by marked and pervasive inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. An alteration in the expression or function of the adrenergic system has been suggested to be involved in ADHD based on animal models, pharmacological interventions, and the neural circuitry of attentional processes. The efficacy of clonidine in reducing disruptive behaviors in some children with ADHD argues for a causal role of the adrenergic system and more specifically for the alpha2A receptors as clonidine is an alpha2A agonist that inhibits release of noradrenaline into the synapse. In animal studies, alpha2A receptor agonists have also been shown to improve performance on working memory tasks under distracting conditions, indicating that these receptors function in the regulation of attention. We examined the possibility that the gene for the alpha2A adrenergic receptor (ADRA2A) is linked to ADHD by testing a polymorphism located in the promoter region of the ADRA2A gene in a sample of 94 nuclear families with an ADHD proband. We found no evidence for linkage of the ADRA2A gene with ADHD, using the transmission disequilibrium test in this set of families.

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