Serotonin transporter gene and adverse life events in adult ADHD

Daniel J. Müller, Laura Mandelli, Alessandro Serretti, Colin G. DeYoung, Vincenzo De Luca, Tricia Sicard, Subi Tharmalingam, Jürgen Gallinat, Pierandrea Muglia, Diana De Ronchi, Umesh Jain, James L. Kennedy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Scopus citations


    Childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology persists in a substantial proportion of cases into adult life. ADHD is highly heritable but the etiology of ADHD is complex and heterogeneous, involving both genetic and non-genetic factors. In the present article we analyzed the influence of both genetics and adverse life events on severity of ADHD symptoms in 110 adult ADHD patients. Subjects were genotyped for the norepinephrine transporter (NET), the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (SERTPR) and the more rare A/G variant within SERTPR. Three main outcomes were obtained: (1) adverse events showed a small but positive correlation with current ADHD severity; (2) NET, COMT and the A/G variant within SERTPR were not associated with ADHD severity; (3) taking into account stressors, the long (L) SERTPR variant showed a mild effect on ADHD, being associated with an increased severity, particularly as regard affective dysregulations; on the other hand, in subjects exposed to early stressors, it showed a protective effect, as compared to the short (S) variant. In conclusion, our data support the role of environmental factors in adult ADHD symptomatology. SERTPR may be involved in some features of the illness and act as a moderator of environmental influences in ADHD.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1461-1469
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Dec 5 2008


    • Adult ADHD
    • Gene environment interaction
    • Life events
    • Serotonin transporter gene

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