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Psychiatry Res. 2009 Dec 30;170(2-3):199-203. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.12.016. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

Effect of candidate gene polymorphisms on the course of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Pediatric Psychopharmacology Department, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


The main aim of this study was to examine the association between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-associated genes and the course of ADHD. Subjects were derived from identically designed case-control family studies of boys and girls with ADHD and a genetic linkage study of families with children with ADHD. Caucasian probands and family members with ADHD and with available genetic data were included in this analysis (N=563). The course of ADHD was compared in subjects with and without putative risk alleles (DRD4 7-repeat allele, DAT1 10-repeat allele, and 5HTTLPR long allele). The persistence of ADHD (full or subthreshold diagnosis in the last month) was plotted using Kaplan-Meier survival functions and tested with Cox proportional hazard models. Survival analyses revealed that by 25 years of age 76% of subjects with a DRD4 7-repeat allele were estimated to have significantly more persistent ADHD compared with 66% of subjects without the risk allele. In contrast, there were no significant associations between the course of ADHD and the DAT1 10-repeat allele (P=0.94) and 5HTTLPR long allele. Our findings suggest that the DRD4 7-repeat allele is associated with a more persistent course of ADHD.

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