Patients with a combination of ADHD and DBD share genetic factors linked to risky and aggressive behavior
People with both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Disruptive Behavior Disorder (DBD) share about 80% of the genetic variants associated with aggressive and antisocial behaviors, new research finds published in Nature Communication. The study analyzed nearly 4,000 patients with these conditions and 30,000 control individuals, examining the neurobiological basis of aggressive behavior.
“Some people have 2 or more psychiatric disorders, and this coexistence continues, in many cases, in a chronological axis, in which suffering from a psychiatric disorder such as ADHD implies opening the door to other comorbid pathologies. that worsen the quality of life of those who suffer from the disease, ”said Marta Ribasés, PhD, head of the Laboratory of Genetic Psychiatry at the Vall d’Hebrón Research Institute (VHIR), in a press release.
ADHD affects about 5% of children and 2.5% of adults and presents with hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention deficit disorder. It is often associated with other psychiatric disorders, including DBD, which can be associated with antisocial and aggressive behavior.
“ADHD and DBD are caused by genetic and environmental factors,” Bru Cormand, professor in the department of genetics, microbiology and statistics and head of the neurogenetics research group at the University of Barcelona, said in the statement. “Regarding ADHD, it is estimated that genetics account for 75%, while in DBD, it oscillates between 40 and 70%. These clinical pictures are more common in boys than in girls, and when they come together, people are more likely to fall into risky behavior, substance use and premature death.
Researchers have identified a genomic segment in chromosome 11 that increases the risk of having ADHD in combination with DBD. This region contains the STIM1 gene, responsible for the regulation of cellular calcium levels, neuronal plasticity and learning memory.
“Our study shows that genetics are more important in people with ADHD and DBD than in those who only have ADHD,” Cormand said in the release. “If we compare the genome of ADHD and DBD patients to that of those ADHD-only patients, we see that those affected by both disorders have a higher genetic correlation with the at-risk genetic variants. These additional correlations of [patients with] ADHD and DBD would probably correspond to alterations that other authors had linked to aggressive behavior.
According to the researchers, this study will help broaden the understanding of the genetic landscape of ADHD comorbidities, allowing the prediction of potential secondary complications for these patients.
“If we see ADHD as an open door on a negative trajectory, the use of genetic information to identify the most vulnerable individuals will have a strong impact on prevention, early detection and treatment, and will shed light on new research studies to find effective therapies that may be disorder specific or shared among multiple disorders, ”Ribasés said in the release.
ADHD, DBD and Aggression: Genetic Risk Factors [news release]. EurekAlert; February 17, 2021. Accessed July 13, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/uob-ada021721.php