Biomarkers in the Diagnosis of ADHD – Promising Directions

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The etiology and pathogenesis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are unclear and a more valid diagnosis would certainly be welcomed. Starting from the literature, we built an hypothetical pyramid representing a putative set of biomarkers where, at the top, variants in DAT1 and DRD4 genes are the best candidates for their associations to neuropsychological tasks, activation in specific brain areas, methylphenidate response and gene expression levels. Interesting data come from the noradrenergic system (norepinephrine transporter, norepinephrine, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol, monoamine oxidase, neuropeptide Y) for their altered peripheral levels, their association with neuropsychological tasks, symptomatology, drugs effect and brain function. Other minor putative genetic biomarkers could be dopamine beta hydroxylase and catechol-O-methyltransferase. In the bottom, we placed endophenotype biomarkers. A more deep integration of “omics” sciences along with more accurate clinical profiles and new high-throughput computational methods will allow us to identify a better list of biomarkers useful for diagnosis and therapies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Biomarkers
  • CNS developmental network
  • COMT
  • DBH
  • Dopaminergic pathway
  • DRD4
  • EEG Theta/Beta ratio
  • Endophenotypes
  • Environmental risk factors
  • Executive functions
  • Metabolism enzymes
  • Noradrenergic pathway
  • Reaction time variability
  • SLC6A3
  • Vigilance/sustained attention
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)


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