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ADHD Genes Found; Known to Play Roles in Neurodevelopment
Date:6/23/2009

But if those genes act on similar pathways, you may end up with a similar result -- ADHD. This may also help to explain why children with ADHD often present clinically with slightly different symptoms."

ADHD is the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in children, affecting an estimated 1 in 20 children worldwide. It may include hyperactive behavior, impulsivity and inattentive symptoms, with impaired skills in planning, organizing, and maintaining focus. Its cause is unknown, but it is known from family studies to be strongly influenced by genetics.

Drawing on DNA samples from the Children's Hospital pediatric network, the researchers analyzed genomes from 335 ADHD patients and their families, compared to more than 2,000 unrelated healthy children. The team used highly automated gene-analyzing technology at the Center for Applied Genomics at Children's Hospital, directed by Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., a co-leader of this study.

The study team found a similar quantity of CNVs in both groups. However, distinct patterns emerged. Among 222 inherited CNVs found in ADHD families but not in healthy subjects, a significant number were in genes previously identified in other neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome. The CNVs found in ADHD families also altered genes important in psychological and neurological functions such as learning, behavior, synaptic transmission and nervous system development.

"We took a systems biology approach, grouping genes into groups with common functions," said White. "We found that the sets of genes more likely to be changed in ADHD patients and families affected functions that made sense biologically." For instance, said White, the team found four deletions of DNA in a gene recently linked to restless legs syndrome, a type of sleep disorder common in adults with ADHD.

Another deletion occurred in a gene for a g
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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