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Neural Mechanisms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms Are Stratified by MAOA Genotype

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Charlotte Nymberg, Tianye Jia, Steven Lubbe, Barbara Ruggeri, Sylvane Desrivieres, Gareth Barker, Christian Buchel, Mira Fauth-Buehler, Anna Cattrell, Patricia Conrod, Herta Flor, Juergen Gallinat, Hugh Garavan, Andreas Heinz, Bernd Ittermann, Claire Lawrence, Karl Mann, Frauke Nees, Angelica Salatino-Oliveira, Marie-Laure Paillere Martinot & 9 more Tomas Paus, Marcella Rietschel, Trevor Robbins, Michael Smolka, Tobias Banaschewski, Katya Rubia, Eva Loth, Gunter Schumann, IMAGEN Consortium

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)607-614
Number of pages8
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013

King's Authors


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by deficits in reward sensitivity and response inhibition. The relative contribution of these frontostriatal mechanisms to ADHD symptoms and their genetic determinants is largely unexplored.

Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and genetic analysis of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene, we investigated how striatal and inferior frontal activation patterns contribute to ADHD symptoms depending on MAOA genotype in a sample of adolescent boys (n = 190).

Results: We demonstrate an association of ADHD symptoms with distinct blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses depending on MAOA genotype. In A hemizygotes of the expression single nucleotide polymorphism rs12843268, which express lower levels of MAOA, ADHD symptoms are associated with lower ventral striatal BOLD response during the monetary incentive delay task and lower inferior frontal gyrus BOLD response during the stop signal task. In G hemizygotes, ADHD symptoms are associated with increased inferior frontal gyrus BOLD response during the stop signal task in the presence of increased ventral striatal BOLD response during the monetary incentive delay task.

Conclusions: Depending on MAOA genotype, ADHD symptoms in adolescent boys are associated with either reward deficiency or insufficient response inhibition. Apart from its mechanistic interest, our finding may aid in developing pharmacogenetic markers for ADHD.

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