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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder comorbid oppositional defiant disorder and its predominately inattentive type: evidence for an association with COMT but not MAOA in a Chinese sample

Behavioral and Brain Functions
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-8
  • Research
  • Biology


Background There are three childhood disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and conduct disorder (CD). The most common comorbid disorder in ADHD is ODD. DSM-IV describes three ADHD subtypes: predominantly inattentive type (ADHD-IA), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (ADHD-HI), and combined type (ADHD-C). Prior work suggests that specific candidate genes are associated with specific subtypes of ADHD in China. Our previous association studies between ADHD and functional polymorphisms of COMT and MAOA, consistently showed the low transcriptional activity alleles were preferentially transmitted to ADHD-IA boys. Thus, the goal of the present study is to test the hypothesis that COMT Val158Met and MAOA-uVNTR jointly contribute to the ODD phenotype among Chinese ADHD boys. Methods 171 Chinese boys between 6 and 17.5 years old (mean = 10.3, SD = 2.6) with complete COMT val158met and MAOA-uVNTR genotyping information were studied. We used logistic regression with genotypes as independent variables and the binary phenotype as the dependent variable. We used p < 0.05 as the level of nominal statistical significance. Bonferroni correction procedures were used to adjust for multiple comparisons. Results Our results highlight the potential etiologic role of COMT in the ADHD with comorbid ODD and its predominately inattentive type in male Chinese subjects. ADHD with comorbid ODD was associated with homozygosity of the high-activity Val allele, while the predominantly inattentive ADHD subtype was associated with the low-activity Met allele. We found no evidence of association between the MAOA-uVNTR variant and ADHD with comorbid ODD or the ADHD-IA subtype. Conclusion Our study of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder comorbid oppositional defiant disorder and its predominately inattentive type highlights the potential etiologic role of COMT for ADHD children in China. But we failed to observe an interaction between COMT and MAOA, which suggests that epistasis between COMT and MAOA genes does not influence the phenotype of ADHD-IA with comorbid ODD in a clinical sample of Chinese male subjects. To confirm our findings further studies with a larger number of subjects and healthy controls are needed.

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