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Genes That May Play a Role in Etiology of ADHD Identified

Last Updated: June 26, 2009.

Genes that previously have been associated with autism, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders may play a role in causing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the most common neuropsychiatric childhood disorder, according a study published online June 23 in Molecular Psychiatry.

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Genes that previously have been associated with autism, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders may play a role in causing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most common neuropsychiatric childhood disorder, according a study published online June 23 in Molecular Psychiatry.

Josephine Elia, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues used DNA samples from the Children's Hospital pediatric network to examine the genomes of 335 children with ADHD and their families, and a control group of 2,026 healthy subjects. The team searched for copy number variations (CNVs), that is, missing or repeated stretches of DNA that may play a role in causing ADHD.

The researchers found no missing or duplicated CNVs among the subjects with ADHD, but did find CNV-associated gene sets that were significantly enriched with the genes A2BP1, AUTS2, CNTNAP2 and IMMP2L, which had previously been implicated in autism, schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome. The ADHD CNVs also were found to be enriched with genes for neurological and psychological functioning, including synaptic transmission, learning, behavior, and central nervous system development.

"Together, these results suggest that rare inherited structural variations play an important role in ADHD development and indicate a set of putative candidate genes for further study in the etiology of ADHD," the authors conclude.

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