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Genes Brain Behav. 2011 Jun;10(4):418-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2011.00680.x. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Bipolar disorder risk alleles in adult ADHD patients.

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Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has an estimated prevalence of 3-5% in adults. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have not been performed in adults with ADHD and studies in children have so far been inconclusive, possibly because of the small sample sizes. Larger GWA studies have been performed on bipolar disorder (BD) and BD symptoms, and several potential risk genes have been reported. ADHD and BD share many clinical features and comorbidity between these two disorders is common. We therefore wanted to examine whether the reported BD genetic variants in CACNA1C, ANK3, MYO5B, TSPAN8 and ZNF804A loci are associated with ADHD or with scores on the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ), a commonly used screening instrument for bipolar spectrum disorders. We studied 561 adult Norwegian ADHD patients and 711 controls from the general population. No significant associations or trends were found between any of the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) studied and ADHD [odds ratios (ORs) ≤ 1.05]. However, a weak association was found between rs1344706 in ZNF804A (OR = 1.25; P = 0.05) and MDQ. In conclusion, it seems unlikely that these six SNPs with strong evidence of association in BD GWA studies are shared risk variants between ADHD and BD.

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