The neurobiology of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Paolo Curatolo, Claudio Paloscia, Elisa D'Agati, Romina Moavero, Augusto Pasini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ADHD is a brain based disorder with structural and functional abnormalities in widespread but specific areas of the brain. The most significant and consistent structural imaging findings include smaller total brain volumes, and reduced volumes in the right frontal lobe, right parietal cortex, caudate nucleus, cerebellar hemispheres, and posterior-inferior lobules of the cerebellar vermis. ADHD involves hypofunction of catecholaminergic circuits, particularly those that project to the prefrontal cortex. A minimum of 18 genes have been reported to be associated with the disorder; among them the DRD4 7-repeat allele has been found associated with a thinner prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex. Epigenetic factors acting during critical periods of prenatal and postnatal development may interact with genetic determinants. Methylphenidate, as well as the catecholaminergic nonstimulant atomoxetine, are effective in improving ADHD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • ADHD
  • Neural circuits
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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