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The dopamine transporter gene (DAT1), striatal network dysfunction, and visual memory deficits have been consistently reported to be associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to examine the effects of the DAT1 rs27048 (C)/rs429699 (T) haplotype on striatal functional connectivity and visual memory performance in youths with ADHD.
After excluding those who had excessive head motion, a total of 96 drug-naïve youths with ADHD and 114 typically developing (TD) youths were assessed with the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and the delayed matching to sample (DMS) task for visual memory. We examined the effects of ADHD, DAT1 CT haplotype, and the ADHD × CT haplotype interaction on the functional connectivity of five striatal seeds. We also correlated visual memory performance with the functional connectivity of striatal subregions, which showed significant diagnosis × genotype interactions.
Compared with TD youths, ADHD youths showed significant hypoconnectivity of the left dorsal caudate (DC) with bilateral sensorimotor clusters. Significant diagnosis × genotype interactions were found in the connectivity between the left DC and the right sensorimotor cluster, and between the right DC and the left dorsolateral prefrontal/bilateral anterior cingulate clusters. Furthermore, the connectivity of the left DC showing significant diagnosis × genotype interactions was associated with DMS performance in youths with ADHD who carried the DAT1 CT haplotype.
A novel gene-brain-behavior association between the left DC functional connectivity and visual memory performance in ADHD youths with the DAT1 rs27048 (C)/rs429699 (T) haplotype suggests a differential effect of DAT1 genotype altering specific brain function causing neuropsychological dysfunction in ADHD.
Brain structural alterations are frequently observed in probands with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here we examined the microstructural integrity of 76 white matter tracts among unaffected siblings of patients with ADHD to evaluate the potential familial risk and its association with clinical and neuropsychological manifestations.
The comparison groups included medication-naïve ADHD probands (n = 50), their unaffected siblings (n = 50) and typically developing controls (n = 50, age-and-sex matched with ADHD probands). Whole brain tractography was reconstructed automatically by tract-based analysis of diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI). Microstructural properties of white matter tracts were represented by the values of generalized fractional anisotropy (GFA), fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD) and axial diffusivity (AD).
Compared to the control group, ADHD probands showed higher AD values in the perpendicular fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus I, corticospinal tract, and corpus callosum. The AD values of unaffected siblings were in the intermediate position between those of the ADHD and control groups. These AD values were significantly associated with ADHD symptoms, sustained attention and working memory, for all white matter tracks evaluated except for the perpendicular fasciculus. Higher FA and lower RD values in the right frontostriatal tract connecting ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (FS-VLPFC) were associated with better performance in spatial span only in the unaffected sibling group.
Abnormal AD values of specific white matter tracts among unaffected siblings of ADHD probands suggest the presence of familial risk in this population. The right FS-VLPFC may have a role in preventing the expression of the ADHD-related behavioral phenotype.
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