RESEARCH: Druggable genome in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and its co-morbid conditions. New avenues for treatment (2019)

This post shares information from a 2019 scientific article which reports that current ADHD medications do not actually target the genes involved in ADHD, however there are some other medications being used for other (mostly autoimmune or malignant) conditions which do target the some of the genes found in ADHD. These findings will hopefully lead to more potential treatments for ADHD.

Here is an interesting new paper from Molecular Psychiatry on the genetics of ADHD + current medications. As executive dysfunction (EDf) is the defining feature of ADHD, advancements made in the treatment of this condition may hopefully lead to better treatments for people with EDf across diagnosises!


Article Highlights:

About Specific Genes:

  • PTPRF…. encodes a tyrosine phosphatase, a signalling molecule involved in a myriad of cellular processes, including cell adhesion, neuronal development and functioning [41, 42]. PTPRF has mainly been studied in the context of cancer. However, its involvement in hyperactivity [42] and axonal growth [43] has also been reported.” (p.9)
  • “Similarly, sarcosine has also been tested as a possible ADHD drug, although the preliminary analyses indicate that its effect may be limited to oppositional symptoms only [46].” (p.9)
  • “…the KCNH3 gene is also interacting with drugs that are FDA-approved or are in clinical trials. This gene encodes a voltage-dependent potassium channel, a selective inhibitor of which was recently described [47]. It is also a non-specific target of blood–brain barrier penetrating drug dalfampridine [48] used to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and related neurologic disorders [44, 49]. Knocking out KCNH3 in mice has been reported to enhance cognitive skills, including attention, further supporting a potential role of dalfampridine-like drugs in the treatment of ADHD [50].” (p.9)
  • “The aforementioned druggable genes also showed significant association with educational attainment, suggesting that drugs targeting them may have a possible impact on quality of life of ADHD patients.” (p.9)
  • “…LEPRE1 interacts with a number of compounds in clinical trials, such as nutraceutical ascorbate, succinic acid and L-proline. This gene encodes an enzyme needed for collagen synthesis and assembly, which has recently been proposed as a novel therapeutic vista for protection and regeneration of neurons [51].”


Hegvik, T., Waløen, K., Pandey, S.K. et al. Druggable genome in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and its co-morbid conditions. New avenues for treatment. Mol Psychiatry (2019) doi:10.1038/s41380-019-0540-z