Postprint version. Published in Behavior Genetics, February 26, 2016.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-016-9784-4.
This review focuses on how measured pre- and perinatal environmental and (epi)genetic risk factors are interrelated and potentially influence one, of many, common developmental pathway towards ADHD. Consistent with the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease hypothesis, lower birth weight is associated with increased ADHD risk. Prenatal ischemia-hypoxia (insufficient blood and oxygen supply in utero) is a primary pathway to lower birth weight and produces neurodevelopmental risk for ADHD. To promote tissue survival in the context of ischemia-hypoxia, ischemia-hypoxia response (IHR) pathway gene expression is altered in the developing brain and peripheral tissues. Although altered IHR gene expression is adaptive in the context of ischemia-hypoxia, lasting IHR epigenetic modifications may lead to increased ADHD risk. Taken together, IHR genetic vulnerability to ischemia-hypoxia and IHR epigenetic alterations following prenatal ischemia-hypoxia may result in neurodevelopmental vulnerability for ADHD. Limitations of the extant literature and future directions for genetically-informed research are discussed.
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