Do candidate genes discriminate patients with an autism spectrum disorder from those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and is there an effect of lifetime substance use disorders?

  • Sizoo B
  • Van Den Brink W
  • Franke B
 et al. 
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Objective. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are developmental disorders that overlap in a number of domains, sometimes complicating clinical distinction between both disorders. Although there is some evidence for a genetic overlap, there are no reports on genes that could differentiate between ASD and ADHD. Furthermore, it is not known whether this genetic overlap is influenced by co-morbid substance use disorders (SUD). Methods. A total of 110 adult patients with ASD (n=61) or ADHD (n=49) with or without a lifetime history of SUD participated in a study in which we genotyped polymorphisms in five known candidate genes for (one of) the disorders, i.e. the 5HTTLPR in SLC6A4/5-HTT, rs1800497 (TaqIA C>T) in DRD2, rs7794745 in CNTNAP2, rs1843809 in TPH2, and rs6565113 in CDH13. Genotyping was by Taqman-based analysis or by simple sequence length analysis, where appropriate. Results. ASD could be differentiated from ADHD with nominal statistical significance by the 5HTTLPR, and the polymorphisms in TPH2 and CNTNAP2. The results were independent of lifetime SUD status. Conclusions. Serotonergic genes could prove to play an important role in differentiating between ASD and ADHD, but the results of this exploratory study need replication

Author-supplied keywords

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Genetics
  • Substance-related disorders

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  • Bram Sizoo

  • Wim Van Den Brink

  • Barbara Franke

  • Alejandro Arias Vasquez

  • Patricia Van Wijngaarden-Cremers

  • Rutger Jan Van Der Gaag

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