Human CLOCK gene-associated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-related features in healthy adults: quantitative association study using Wender Utah Rating Scale.

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2014 Feb 26;264(1):71-81. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Department of Psychiatry, Eulji University School of Medicine, Eulji University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea.

Circadian rhythm disturbance is highly prevalent in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recently, the association between the CLOCK gene and ADHD has been demonstrated in clinical samples, and the CLOCK gene's role was thought to be mediated by rhythm dysregulation. Meanwhile, ADHD has been suggested as the extreme end of a continuously distributed trait that can be found in the general population. Therefore, we examined two possibilities: (1) an ADHD-related continuous trait may be associated with the CLOCK gene, and (2) this association may be mediated by the degree of individuals' evening preference. To explore these possibilities, we performed a quantitative trait locus association study with a sample of 1,289 healthy adults. The Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) and the Composite Scale of Morningness (CSM) were utilized to measure the quantitative traits. Quantitative association analysis was performed using PLINK software. We found that rs1801260 (=T3111C) was associated with WURS scores in both allele-wise (p = 0.018) and haplotype-wise analyses (range of p values: 0.0155-0.0171) in male participants only. After controlling for the CSM total score as a covariate, the strength of the association did not change at all, suggesting that the association was not mediated by evening preference. Despite the very weak association signal, our results provide evidence that the CLOCK gene's association with ADHD in clinical samples may be generalizable to traits measured in the normal population. However, as our results failed to show a mediating role of evening preference, ongoing efforts are needed to identify the mechanisms by which the CLOCK gene determines ADHD-related traits.

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February 2014
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