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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009 Aug;34(9):2135-42. doi: 10.1038/npp.2009.39. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

A haplotype of the norepinephrine transporter (Net) gene Slc6a2 is associated with clinical response to atomoxetine in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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INSERM U675, IFR02, Faculty Xavier Bichat, University of Paris, Paris, France.


Atomoxetine is a specific inhibitor of the norepinephrine transporter (NET) that has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We investigated whether polymorphisms in the NET/SLC6A2 gene may influence atomoxetine response in ADHD. Two independent cohorts of 160 and 105 ADHD children treated for 6 weeks with atomoxetine (0.5-1.8 mg/kg per day) were genotyped on CYP2D6, which metabolizes atomoxetine, and 108 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the NET/SLC6A2 gene. Response was defined as a minimum decrease of 25% in ADHD Rating Scale IV-Parent Version and a Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) score less than or equal to 2 at week 6. Interindividual response was independent of the genetic variants of CYP2D6. Significant (p<0.05) associations between 20 NET/SLC6A2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and clinical efficacy in atomoxetine responders, compared with non-responders, were observed. The genomic region across exons 4 to 9 of NET/SLC6A2, where 36 SNPs have been genotyped, was associated with treatment response in both cohorts (p<0.01, odds ratio=2.2 and p=0.026, odds ratio=6.3, respectively), in the combined cohort (p<0.01, odds ratio=1.83), and in the subgroup of Caucasians only (p=0.02, odds ratio=1.8). Clinical efficacy of atomoxetine treatment in ADHD shows potential dependence upon a series of genetic polymorphisms of its mechanistic target, the norepinephrine transporter. Taking into account the high heritability of ADHD, the significance of the present finding and replication of a similar haplotype allele sequence result in an independent cohort, it is suggested that further assessment of this region could be useful in determining response to atomoxetine in ADHD.

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