Bipolar disorder risk alleles in children with ADHD

B. G. Schimmelmann*, A. Hinney, A. Scherag, C. Pütter, S. Pechlivanis, S. Cichon, K. H. Jöckel, S. Schreiber, H. E. Wichmann, O. Albayrak, M. Dauvermann, K. Konrad, C. Wilhelm, B. Herpertz-Dahlmann, G. Lehmkuhl, J. Sinzig, T. J. Renner, M. Romanos, A. Warnke, K. P. LeschA. Reif, J. Hebebrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Bipolar disorder (BD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may share common genetic risk factors as indicated by the high co-morbidity of BD and ADHD, their phenotypic overlap especially in pediatric populations, the high heritability of both disorders, and the co-occurrence in families. We therefore examined whether known polygenic BD risk alleles are associated with ADHD. We chose the eight best SNPs of the recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BD patients of German ancestry and the nine SNPs from international GWAS meeting a 'genome-wide significance' level of α = 5 × 10 -8. A GWAS was performed in 495 ADHD children and 1,300 population-based controls using HumanHap550v3 and Human660 W-Quadv1 BeadArrays. We found no significant association of childhood ADHD with single BD risk alleles surviving adjustment for multiple testing. Yet, risk alleles for BD and ADHD were directionally consistent at eight of nine loci with the strongest support for three SNPs in or near NCAN, BRE, and LMAN2L. The polygene analysis for the BP risk alleles at all 14 loci indicated a higher probability of being a BD risk allele carrier in the ADHD cases as compared to the controls. At a moderate power to detect association with ADHD, if true effects were close to estimates from GWAS for BD, our results suggest that the possible contribution of BD risk variants to childhood ADHD risk is considerably lower than for BD. Yet, our findings should encourage researchers to search for common genetic risk factors in BD and childhood ADHD in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1611-1617
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number11
Early online date28 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors express their gratitude to the patients and their families for participation. The German Ministry for Education and Research (National Genome Research Net plus 01GS0820) and the German Research Foundation (DFG; KFO 125/1-1, SCHA 542/10-2, ME 1923/5-1, ME 1923/5-3, HE 1446/9-1) supported this study. These institutions had no further role in study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the report, and the decision to submit the paper for publication.


  • Adolescence
  • Childhood
  • Genetics
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Mood disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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