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Mol Psychiatry. 2002;7(7):718-25.

Serotonergic system and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a potential susceptibility locus at the 5-HT(1B) receptor gene in 273 nuclear families from a multi-centre sample.

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Department of Genetics and Psychiatry, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable and heterogeneous disorder, which usually becomes apparent during the first few years of childhood. Imbalance in dopamine neurotransmission has been suggested as a factor predisposing to ADHD. However, evidence has suggested an interaction between dopamine and serotonin systems in the pathophysiology of the disorder. Studies using selective agonists of the different 5-HT receptors microinjected into selected brain structures have shown a positive modulating effect on the functional activities of the mesotelencephalic dopaminergic system. This suggests that some of the genetic predisposition to ADHD might be due to DNA variation at serotonin system genes. In this study, we investigated polymorphisms in HTR(1B) and HTR(2A) (which encode the serotonin receptors 5-HT(1B) and 5-HT(2A) respectively) in a European ADHD sample. Using haplotype based haplotype relative risk (HHRR) and transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) analyses, we observed significant preferential transmission of the allele 861G of the HTR(1B) in the total sample (for HHRR; chi(2) = 7.4, P = 0.0065 and TDT; (chi(2) = 6.4, P = 0.014). Analysis of HTR(2A) failed to reveal evidence of association or linkage between the His452Tyr polymorphism and ADHD in the total sample. However, a significantly increased transmission of the allele 452His was observed in the Irish sample alone (chi(2) = 4.9, P = 0.026). These preliminary data suggest an important role for the serotonin system in the development of ADHD. Further studies, preferentially including different ethnic groups are required to substantiate these findings.

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