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Dopamine transporter gene polymorphism moderates the effects of severe deprivation on ADHD symptoms: Developmental continuities in gene–environment interplay

Authors

  • Suzanne E. Stevens,

    Corresponding author
    1. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
    2. Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK
    • Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London, 7 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA, UK.
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  • Robert Kumsta,

    1. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
    2. Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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  • Jana M. Kreppner,

    1. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
    2. Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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  • Keeley J. Brookes,

    1. Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK
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  • Michael Rutter,

    1. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
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  • Edmund J. S. Sonuga-Barke

    Corresponding author
    1. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
    2. Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
    3. Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
    • Developmental Brain Behaviour Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
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  • How to cite this article: Stevens S, Kumsta R, Kreppner J, Brookes K, Rutter M, Sonuga-Barke EJS. 2009. Dopamine Transporter Gene Polymorphism Moderates the Effects of Severe Deprivation on ADHD Symptoms: Developmental Continuities in Gene–Environment Interplay. Am J Med Genet Part B 150B:753–761.

Abstract

Early institutional deprivation is a risk factor for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. However not all individuals are affected. We tested the hypothesis that this heterogeneity is influenced by gene x environment (GxE) interaction and that genetic polymorphisms involved in dopamine neurotransmission moderate the effects of severe early institutional deprivation on symptoms of ADHD (sADHD). Using a prospective-longitudinal design sADHD were measured at ages 6, 11, and 15 years in a sample of individuals who experienced severe institutional deprivation (up to 42 months of age) in Romanian orphanages and a non-institutionalized comparison group. Individuals were genotyped for polymorphisms in the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4 48-bp VNTR in exon 3) and dopamine transporter gene (DAT1 haplotypes combining a 40-bp VNTR in 3'UTR and a 30-bp VNTR in intron 8). The risk for sADHD associated with early institutional deprivation was moderated by the DAT1 but not the DRD4 genotypes; an effect that was first apparent in early-, and persisted to mid-adolescence. The results (i) provide evidence for developmental continuities in G x E interaction, (ii) explain some of the heterogeneity in ADHD outcomes following institutional deprivation and, (iii) add to our understanding of environmental determinants of sADHD. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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