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Journal of neuroimmunology

Detection of auto-antibodies to DAT in the serum: interactions with DAT genotype and psycho-stimulant therapy for ADHD.


PMID 25468771

Abstract

Interest is rising for auto-immune contribution in neuro-psychiatry. We evaluated the auto-antibodies against dopamine transporter (DAT aAbs) in 61 children (46 ADHD who met DSM-IV-TR criteria, 15 healthy controls). ADHD patients were assigned, according to severity, either to a non-pharmacological therapy (NPT, N=32) or to a pharmacological treatment (PT, N=14) with methylphenidate (MPH). In ADHD children, blood samples were withdrawn twice, at recruitment (T0 basal) and after 6 weeks (T1); following 16 excluded subjects, DAT genotype was characterized (9-repeat or 10-repeat alleles; N=15 each). After 18 months of NPT or PT, some patients (carrying at least one 9-repeat allele) were blood sampled again (T2), for comparison with healthy controls (final n=8) RESULTS: Compared to NPT, basal DAT aAbs titers were higher within most severe patients (then assigned to PT), specifically if carrying a DAT 10/10 genotype. DAT aAbs levels of NPT group resulted highly correlated with distinct subscales of Conners' Parent/Teacher Scales (Rs>0.34), especially within DAT 10/10 genotype (Rs>0.53). While T1 titers were elevated over T0 baseline for NPT children, such an increase was not observed in PT patients carrying at least one 9-repeat allele, who also showed behavioral response to subchronic MPH. After 12-24 months of MPH exposure, DAT aAbs titers in PT subjects were comparable to those of healthy controls, while titers remained significantly elevated in NPT patients. Data warrant further research on serum DAT aAbs, which could be used to confirm ADHD diagnosis and/or to monitor therapeutic efficacy of MPH.

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