Archive | 2021
Differences in the genetic architecture of common and rare variants in childhood, persistent and late-diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, with onset in childhood ( childhood ADHD ), and around two thirds of affected individuals will continue to have ADHD symptoms in adulthood ( persistent ADHD ). Age at first diagnosis can vary, and sometimes ADHD is first diagnosed in adulthood ( late-diagnosed ADHD ). In this study, we analyzed a large Danish population-based case-cohort generated by iPSYCH in order to identify common genetic risk loci and perform in-depth characterization of the polygenic architecture of childhood (N=14,878), persistent (N=1,473) and late-diagnosed ADHD (N=6,961) alongside 38,303 controls. Additionally, the burden of rare protein truncating variants in the three groups were evaluated in whole-exome sequencing data from a subset of the individuals (7,650 ADHD cases and 8,649 controls). We identified genome-wide significant loci associated with childhood ADHD (four loci) and late-diagnosed ADHD (one locus). In analyses of the polygenic architecture, we found higher polygenic score (PGS) of ADHD risk variants in persistent ADHD (mean PGS=0.41) compared to childhood (mean PGS=0.26) and late-diagnosed ADHD (mean PGS=0.27), and we found a significant decreased genetic correlation of late-diagnosed ADHD with inattention (rg=0.57) compared to childhood ADHD (rg=0.86). These results suggest that a higher ADHD polygenic risk burden is associated with persistence of symptoms, and that a later diagnosis of ADHD could be due in part to genetic factors. Additionally, childhood ADHD demonstrated both a significantly increased genetic overlap with autism compared to late-diagnosed ADHD as well as the highest burden of rare protein-truncating variants in highly constrained genes among ADHD subgroups (compared to controls: beta=0.13, P=2.41x10-11). Late-diagnosed ADHD demonstrated significantly larger genetic overlap with depression than childhood ADHD and no increased burden in rare protein-truncating variants (compared to controls: beta=0.06). Overall, our study finds genetic heterogeneity among ADHD subgroups and suggests that genetic factors influence time of first ADHD diagnosis, persistence of ADHD and comorbidity patterns in the sub-groups.