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Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2006 Jul 5;141B(5):487-98.

An examination of the behavioral and neuropsychological correlates of three ADHD candidate gene polymorphisms (DRD4 7+, DBH TaqI A2, and DAT1 40 bp VNTR) in hyperactive and normal children followed to adulthood.

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Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, USA.


Several candidate gene polymorphisms have been implicated in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including DAT1 40bp VNTR, DRD4 7+, and DBH TaqI A2 alleles. We used the Milwaukee longitudinal study of hyperactive (n = 122) and normal (n = 67) children to compare participants with and without these respective polymorphisms on ADHD-related behavioral ratings at childhood, 8 years later in adolescence, and 13+ years later into young adulthood. Neuropsychological tests were given at the adolescent and young adulthood follow-up. No differences were found between the DRD4-7+ and 7- repeat polymorphism. The DBH TaqI A2 allele, when homozygous, was associated with being more hyperactive in childhood, having more pervasive behavior problems at adolescence, and earning less money on a card playing task in adulthood. At adolescence, poorer test scores were also found only in the hyperactive group with homozygous for this allele. The DAT1 40bp VNTR heterozygous 9/10 repeat, however, differed from the 10/10 repeat pair in many respects, having greater ADHD and externalizing symptoms at all three follow-ups, more cross-situational behavioral problems at both childhood and adolescence, poorer mother-teen relations at adolescence, and lower class rankings in high school. Participants with the 9/10 pair in the control group also had lower work performance, a lower grade point average in high school, greater teacher rated externalizing symptoms at adolescence, and greater omission errors on a continuous performance test in adulthood. The DAT1 40bp VNTR 9/10 polymorphism pairing appears to be reliably associated with greater symptoms of ADHD and externalizing behavior from childhood to adulthood, and with family, educational, and occupational impairments. We also present a contrary view on the appropriate endophenotypes for use in behavioral genetic research on ADHD.

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