A Population-Based Imaging Genetics Study of Inattention/Hyperactivity: Basal Ganglia and Genetic Pathways.

S.E. Mous, A.R. Hammerschlag, T.J. Polderman, F.C. Verhulst, H. Tiemeier, A. van der Lugt, V.W. Jaddoe, A. Hofman, T. White, D. Posthuma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Although attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is 1 of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, little is known about the neurobiology. Clinical studies suggest basal ganglia morphology plays a role. Furthermore, hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms have recently been linked to genetic pathways involved in dopamine/norepinephrine and serotonin neurotransmission and neuritic outgrowth. We aimed to assess the association between ADHD symptoms, basal ganglia volume, and the 3 proposed genetic pathways in a pediatric population-based sample. With this, we aimed to investigate the generalizability of earlier clinical findings to the general population. Method: This study included a population-based sample of 1,871 children with data on ADHD symptoms and genetic data, and 344 children with additional neuroimaging data. Regression analyses between ADHD symptom severity and volumetric data of the basal ganglia were performed. Also, gene-set analyses investigating the association between both ADHD symptom severity and basal ganglia volume with the dopamine/norepinephrine, serotonin, and neuritic outgrowth pathways were performed. Results: More inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms were associated with a smaller volume of the putamen (β = -0.13, p =.034), which was regarded as trend-level after correction for multiple testing. Stratified analyses showed a stronger putamen-hyperactivity association in children with clinical scores, although a similar trend was visible in the nonclinical subsample. The genetic pathways were not related to either ADHD symptoms or basal ganglia volume. Conclusion: ADHD symptoms were marginally related to putamen volume in our population-based sample. We found no evidence for a role of dopamine/norepinephrine, serotonin, or neuritic outgrowth genetic pathways in ADHD symptom severity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)745-752
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number54
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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