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There is recent evidence of some degree of shared genetic susceptibility between adult schizophrenia and childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for rare chromosomal variants.
To determine whether there is overlap between common alleles conferring risk of schizophrenia in adults with those that do so for ADHD in children.
We used recently published Psychiatric Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) Consortium (PGC) adult schizophrenia data to define alleles over-represented in people with schizophrenia and tested whether those alleles were more common in 727 children with ADHD than in 2067 controls.
Schizophrenia risk alleles discriminated ADHD cases from controls (P = 1.04 × 104, R2 = 0.45%); stronger discrimination was given by alleles that were risk alleles for both adult schizophrenia and adult bipolar disorder (also derived from a PGC data-set) (P = 9.98 ×10−6, R2 × 0.59%).
This increasing evidence for a small, but significant, shared genetic susceptibility between adult schizophrenia and childhood ADHD highlights the importance of research work across traditional diagnostic boundaries.
Submicroscopic, rare chromosomal copy number variants (CNVs) contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders but it is not known whether they define atypical clinical cases.
To identify whether large, rare CNVs in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are confined to a distinct clinical subgroup.
A total of 567 children with ADHD aged 5–17 years were recruited from community clinics. Psychopathology was assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. Large, rare CNVs (>500 kb, <1% frequency) were defined from single nucleotide polymorphism data.
Copy number variant carriers (13.6%) showed no differences from non-carriers in ADHD symptom severity, symptom type, comorbidity, developmental features, family history or pre-/ perinatal markers. The only significant difference was a higher rate of intellectual disability (24% v. 9%, χ2 = 15.5, P = 0.001). Most CNV carriers did not have intellectual disability.
Large, rare CNVs are not restricted to an atypical form of ADHD but may be more highly enriched in children with cognitive problems.
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