Association of the cannabinoid receptor gene (CNR1) with ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable disorder affecting some 5-10% of children and 4-5% of adults. The cannabinoidreceptor gene (CNR1) is a positional candidate gene due to its location near an identified ADHD linkage peak on chromosome 6, its role in stress and dopamine regulation, its association with other psychiatric disorders that co-occur with ADHD, and its function in learning and memory.

…the CNR1 gene may be a risk factor forADHD and possibly PTSD, and that this gene warrants further investigation for a role in neuropsychiatric disorders.

These data provide support for a putative role of endogenous cannabinoids in ADHD, and PTSD.

The CNR1gene may contribute to shared underlying risk continua, such as emotional dysregulation in response to stress, across these diverse diagnostic groups. Increased amygdala activity, poor stress reactivity as reflected by HPA response, and poor prefrontal cortical modulation is a plausible underlying mechanism of liability that may be shared across disorders.

Taken together with the current findings, we suggest that this gene may be an important risk variant in the emotional regulation difficulties underlying ADHD, PTSD, and possibly other co-morbid conditions (such as mood disorder); however, the role of CNR1 is likely small, particularly at the level of psychiatric diagnosis, so future work using more refined phenotypes or endophenotypes of affect regulation are necessary.”

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