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J Pediatr. 2011 Oct;159(4):638-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.03.043. Epub 2011 May 17.

A dopamine receptor (DRD2) but not dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene polymorphism is associated with neurocognitive development of Mexican preschool children with lead exposure.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA.



To investigate the effects of prenatal and postnatal lead exposure and polymorphisms in dopamine metabolism genes on neurocognitive development of Mexican children at 24 months (n = 220) and 48 months (n = 186) of age.


We genotyped the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1; SLC6A3) variable nucleotide tandem repeat and the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) Taq1A single nucleotide polymorphism. Children were assessed at 24 months with Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Mental Development Index and Psychomotor Development Index) and at 48 months with McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities.


Blood lead concentration (BLL) in umbilical cord was 6.6 ± 3.3 μg/dL (measured in 1995-96), 8.1 ± 4.4 μg/dL at 24 months, and 8.1 ± 3.6 μg/dL at 48 months. Cord BLL was negatively associated with Mental Development Index (P < .01) and Psychomotor Development Index (P < .1), but not McCarthy scores. The 48-month BLL, but not the 24-month BLL, was negatively associated with children's scores. Children with DRD2 TT genotype (variant) scored higher than children with CC genotype (wild type) on the Mental Development Index and McCarthy memory scale. Neither polymorphism modified the relationship between BLL (either prenatal or postnatal) and neurocognitive development.


Lead exposure was adversely associated with neurocognitive measures, whereas the DRD2 Taq1A TT variant was positively associated with neurocognitive measures. We found no evidence of gene-environment interactions on developmental outcomes in early childhood.

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