Glucocorticoid receptor variants in childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and comorbid psychiatric disorders.

Andrea B Schote, Martina Bonenberger, Haukur Pálmason, Christiane Seitz, Jobst Meyer, Christine M Freitag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stress results in a variety of neuroendocrine, immune and behavioral responses and represents a risk factor for many disorders. Following exposure to stress, glucocorticoids are secreted from the adrenal cortex and act via the ligand-activated glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Several polymorphisms of the GR-encoding gene NR3C1 have been described and functionally investigated. However, the impact of these variants on complex diseases such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is still unclear. In this study, 251 children with ADHD, 19 affected and 35 unaffected siblings, and their parents were included in a family-based association study assessing seven common variants of NR3C1 (TthIIII_rs10052957; NR3C1-I_rs10482605; ER22/23EK_rs6189/rs6190; N363S_rs56149945; BclI_rs41423247; GR-9beta_rs6198). A four-marker haplotype (TthIIII-NR3C1-I-ER22/23EK) was nominally associated with ADHD. In addition, in index children with ADHD, associations with comorbid disorders, inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were explored. N363S minor allele carriers were more likely to show comorbid conduct disorder (CD). In our study, NR3C1 variants moderately affected ADHD and had a significant effect on comorbid CD. Therefore, NR3C1 as an important gene of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis seems to be particularly relevant for the pathophysiology of ADHD combined with comorbid CD. For a deeper understanding, investigations in larger samples of healthy, ADHD and CD individuals are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-283
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Other keywords

  • ADHD
  • Association
  • Conduct disorder
  • Cortisol
  • NR3C1
  • SNPs
  • Gen
  • Hegðunarröskun
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Genes


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