Relationship of DAT1 and adult ADHD to task-positive and task-negative working memory networks

Brown AB, Biederman J, Valera E, Makris N, Doyle A, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Mick E, Spencer T, Faraone S, Seidman L

Psychiatry Res 2011 Jul;193(1):7-16

PMID: 21596533


Alterations in working memory, default-mode network (DMN), and dopamine transporter have all been proposed as endophenotypes for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite evidence that these systems are interrelated, their relationship to each other has never been studied in the context of ADHD. In order to understand the potential mediating effects of task-positive and task-negative networks between DAT1 and diagnosis, we tested effects of genotype and diagnosis on regions of positive and negative BOLD signal change (as measured with fMRI) in 53 adults with ADHD and 38 control subjects during a working memory task. We also examined the relationship of these responses to ADHD symptoms. Our results yielded four principal findings: 1) association of the DAT1 9R allele with adult ADHD, 2) marginal DAT1 association with task-related suppression in left medial PFC, 3) marginal genotype×diagnosis interaction in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and 4) correlation of DMN suppression to ADHD symptoms. These findings replicate the association of the 9R allele with adult ADHD. Further, we show that DMN suppression is likely linked to DAT1 and to severity of inattention in ADHD. DMN may therefore be a target of DAT1 effects, and lie on the path between the gene and inattention in ADHD.