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Mol Psychiatry. 1998 Sep;3(5):427-30.

Evidence that the dopamine D4 receptor is a susceptibility gene in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1University of California, Los Angeles 90024, USA.

Erratum in

  • Mol Psychiatry 1999 Jan;4(1):100.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobehavioral problem afflicting 5-10% of children and adolescents and persisting into adulthood in 30-50% or more of cases. Family, twin, and adoption studies suggest genetic factors contribute to ADHD and symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Because stimulant intervention is effective in reducing ADHD symptoms in about 70-80% of cases, molecular genetic investigations of genes involved in dopamine regulation are currently underway by many groups. In a case control study of the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) and ADHD, La Hoste and colleagues found an increase of a 7-repeat variant of a 48-bp VNTR in exon 3 among ADHD subjects compared to controls. Swanson and colleagues replicated this finding in a sample of 52 ADHD probands and their biological parents using a haplotype relative risk analysis. Here, we describe linkage investigations of the VNTR and ADHD in affected sibling pair (ASP) families and singleton families using both the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) and a mean test of identity-by-descent (IBD) sharing. Using the TDT in the total sample, the 7 allele is differentially transmitted to ADHD children (P = 0.03) while the mean test revealed no evidence of increased IBD sharing among ASPs. In the current sample, the 7 allele attributes a 1.5-fold risk for developing ADHD over non-carriers of the allele estimated under a model described by Risch and Merikangas.

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