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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 Feb;65(2):203-10. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2007.24.

A replicated molecular genetic basis for subtyping antisocial behavior in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, England. a.caspi@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder that in some cases is accompanied by antisocial behavior.

OBJECTIVE:

To test if variations in the catechol O-methyltransferase gene (COMT) would prove useful in identifying the subset of children with ADHD who exhibit antisocial behavior.

DESIGN:

Three independent samples composed of 1 clinical sample of ADHD cases and 2 birth cohort studies.

PARTICIPANTS:

Participants in the clinical sample were drawn from child psychiatry and child health clinics in England and Wales. The 2 birth cohort studies included 1 sample of 2232 British children born in 1994-1995 and a second sample of 1037 New Zealander children born in 1972-1973.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Diagnosis of ADHD and measures of antisocial behavior.

RESULTS:

We present replicated evidence that the COMT valine/methionine polymorphism at codon 158 (COMT Val158Met) was associated with phenotypic variation among children with ADHD. Across the 3 samples, valine/valine homozygotes had more symptoms of conduct disorder, were more aggressive, and were more likely to be convicted of criminal offenses compared with methionine carriers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings confirm the presence of genetic heterogeneity in ADHD and illustrate how genetic information may provide biological evidence pointing to clinical subtypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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