ADHD in families

Dr. M. Romanos and colleagues examined the genetic make-up of several families and found that there are common elements that appear to be associated with ADHD. Although these findings point toward a genetic contribution to ADHD, it is important to note the caveat implied by the final sentence of the abstract: So many factors contribute to ADHD, that these results should not be construed as identifying the precise cause of the disorder. In the full article, the authors are circumspect about this: “The identification [in this study] of several novel linkage regions as well as replication of previously reported loci provides further evidence for the highly heterogeneous genetic etiology of ADHD.”

Genome-wide linkage analysis of ADHD using high-density SNP arrays: Novel loci at 5q13.1 and 14q12

M Romanos, C. Freitag, C. Jacob, D. W Craig, A. Dempfle, T. T. Nguyen, R. Halperin, S. Walitza, T. J Renner, C. Seitz, J. Romanos, H. Palmason, A. Reif, M. Heine, C. Windemuth-Kieselbach, C. Vogler, J. Sigmund, A. Warnke, H. Schäfer, J. Meyer, D. A. Stephan, & K. P. Lesch

Molecular Psychiatry (2008) 13, 522–530; doi:10.1038/mp.2008.12; published online 26 February 2008


Previous genome-wide linkage studies applied the affected sib-pair design; one investigated extended pedigrees of a. genetic isolate. Here, results of a. genome-wide high-density linkage scan of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using an array-based genotyping of approx ~50 K. single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) markers are presented. We investigated eight extended pedigrees of German origin that were non-related, not part of a. genetic isolate and ascertained on the basis of clinical referral. Two parametric analyses maximizing LOD scores (MOD) and a. non-parametric analysis for both a. broad and a. narrow phenotype approach were conducted. Novel linkage loci across all families were detected at 2q35, 5q13.1, 6q22-23 and 14q12, within individual families at 18q11.2-12.3. Further linkage regions at 7q21.11, 9q22 and 16q24.1 in all families, and at 1q25.1, 1q25.3, 9q31.1-33.1, 9q33, 12p13.33, 15q11.2-13.3 and 16p12.3-12.2 in individual families replicate previous findings. High-resolution linkage mapping points to several novel candidate genes characterized by dense expression in the brain and potential impact on disorder-relevant synaptic transmission. Our study provides further evidence for common gene effects throughout different populations despite the complex multifactorial etiology of ADHD.

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