Interaction of dopamine transporter (DAT1) genotype and maltreatment for ADHD: A latent class analysis

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 05/2012; 53(9):997-1005. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02563.x
Source: PubMed


Although the association of the dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been widely studied, far less is known about its potential interaction with environmental risk factors. Given that maltreatment is a replicated risk factor for ADHD, we explored the interaction between DAT1 and maltreatment with ADHD symptoms defined dimensionally and using latent class analysis (LCA).
We tested the association of the 40 base-pair variable number of tandem repeats polymorphism in DAT1, maltreatment, and their interaction in 2,488 boys and girls from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
In boys, ADHD symptoms were optimally defined by four classes (Combined, Hyperactive/Impulsive, Inattentive, and Normal), whereas in girls, ADHD symptoms were defined by three classes (Combined, Combined-Mild, Normal). A significant DAT1 × maltreatment interaction revealed that maltreated girls homozygous for the 10-repeat allele had more symptoms of ADHD, and were also 2.5 times more likely to be classified in the Combined ADHD group than in the Normal Group.
The underlying structure of ADHD symptoms differed between boys and girls and DAT1 interacted with maltreatment to predict ADHD symptoms and ADHD status derived from LCA. Interactive exchanges between maltreatment and DAT1 for ADHD symptoms, and their implications for intervention, are discussed.

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    • "In many cases, these interactions can have clinical implications for disorders in which impulsivity is a core feature. Maltreated girls homozygous for the 10-repeat allele of the dopamine transporter gene (dopamine active transporter 1 [DAT1]) have been found to have more attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and to be 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with the combined type of ADHD (hyperactive and inattentive), as compared to those not homozygous (Li & Lee, 2012). Moreover , Bakermans-Kranenburg and van IJzendoorn (2011) conducted a meta-analysis and found robust evidence that genotypes conferring dopamine inefficiency increased susceptibility to the environment. "
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    ABSTRACT: A model examining the effects of an increasing number of maltreatment subtypes experienced on antisocial behavior, as mediated by impulsivity and moderated by a polygenic index of dopaminergic genotypes, was investigated. An African American sample of children (N = 1,012, M age = 10.07) with and without maltreatment histories participated. Indicators of aggression, delinquency, and disruptive peer behavior were obtained from peer- and counselor-rated measures to form a latent variable of antisocial behavior; impulsivity was assessed by counselor report. Five genotypes in four dopaminergic genes (dopamine receptors D4, D2, known as DRD4, DRD2; dopamine active transporter 1, known as DAT1; and catechol-O-methyltransferase, known as COMT) conferring heightened environmental sensitivity were combined into one polygenic index. Using structural equation modeling, a first-stage, moderated-mediation model was evaluated. Age and sex were entered as covariates, both as main effects and in interaction with maltreatment and the gene index. The model had excellent fit: χ2 (32, N = 1,012) = 86.51, p < .001; comparative fit index = 0.982, Tucker-Lewis index = 0.977, root mean square error of approximation = 0.041, and standardized root mean square residual = 0.022. The effect of maltreatment subtypes on antisocial behavior was partially mediated by impulsivity (β = 0.173, p < .001), and these relations were moderated by the number of differentiating dopaminergic genotypes. Specifically, a significant Gene × Environment interaction (β = 0.016, p = .013) indicated that the relation between maltreatment and impulsivity was stronger as children evinced more differentiating genotypes, thereby strengthening the mediational effect of impulsivity on antisocial behavior. These findings elucidate the manner by which maltreated children develop early signs of antisocial behavior, and the genetic mechanisms involved in greater vulnerability for maladaptation in impulse control within the context of child maltreatment.
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