Association between urine phthalate levels and poor attentional performance in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder with evidence of dopamine gene-phthalate interaction.

Although there is some evidence supporting the existence of an association between prenatal maternal or postnatal child's urine phthalate metabolite concentrations and poor attentional performances, the interaction between urine phthalate metabolite levels and genetic variation for neuropsychological deficit of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has not been examined. The aim of this study was to determine whether phthalate metabolites in urine are associated with poor neuropsychological performance in children with ADHD, and whether such association is affected by genotype-phthalate interaction. A cross-sectional examination of urine phthalate metabolite concentrations and the continuous performance test (CPT) were performed in 179 Korean children with ADHD recruited from department of psychiatry of university hospital. Correlations between urine phthalate metabolite concentrations and the CPT scores were investigated, and the interaction of phthalate metabolite levels with the selected polymorphisms at major candidate genes for ADHD, namely dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4), dopamine transporter, α-2A-adrenergic receptor, and norepinephrine transporter genes. For the subjects with the DRD4 4/4 genotype, there were significant associations of the urine phthalate metabolite concentrations with the number of omission errors, the number of commission errors, and the response time variability scores on the CPT. However, for the subjects without the DRD4 4/4 genotype, no significant associations were found. The results of this study suggest a possible association between phthalate metabolite concentrations and poor attentional performances of ADHD as well as a genetic influence on this association. Further prospective and epigenetic studies are needed to investigate causality and pathophysiological mechanisms.

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