Genetic analyses of dopamine related genes in adult ADHD patients suggest an association with the DRD5-microsatellite repeat, but not with DRD4 or SLC6A3 VNTRs


  • Please cite this article as follows: Johansson S, Halleland H, Halmøy A, Jacobsen KK, Landaas ET, Dramsdahl M, Fasmer OB, Bergsholm P, Lundervold AJ, Gillberg C, Hugdahl K, Knappskog PM, Haavik J. 2008. Genetic Analyses of Dopamine Related Genes in Adult ADHD Patients Suggest an Association With the DRD5-Microsatellite Repeat, But Not With DRD4 or SLC6A3 VNTRs. Am J Med Genet Part B 147B:1470–1475.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common and highly heritable psychiatric disorder in children and adults. Recent meta-analyses have indicated an association between genes involved in dopaminergic signaling and childhood ADHD, but little is known about their possible role in adult ADHD. In this study of adults with ADHD, we evaluated the three most commonly studied ADHD candidate genetic polymorphisms; the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) exon 3 VNTR repeat, a microsatellite repeat 18.5 kb upstream of the DRD5 locus and the 3′UTR dopamine transporter SLC6A3 (DAT 1) VNTR. We examined 358 clinically diagnosed adult Norwegian ADHD patients (51% males) and 340 ethnically matched controls. We found a nominally significant overall association with adult ADHD for the DRD5 microsatellite marker (P = 0.04), and a trend toward increased risk associated with the 148-bp allele consistent with recent meta-analyses. The strongest overall association (P = 0.02) and increased risk for the 148-bp allele [odds ratio (OR) = 1.27 (95% CI: 1.00–1.61)] were seen in the inattentive and combined inattentive/hyperactive group as previously reported for childhood ADHD. No association was found for the DRD4 or SLC6A3 polymorphisms in this patient sample. In conclusion, our results among adults with a clinical diagnosis of ADHD support an association between ADHD and the DRD5 locus, but not the DRD4 or SLC6A3 loci. It is possible that the latter polymorphisms are associated with a transient form of ADHD with better long-term clinical outcome. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.