Amino Acid Profile Differentiation Detected in Children with ADHD

Changes in the amino acid profile of children with ADHD may support further research into potential new treatment strategies.

Alterations in the amino acid profile of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) were observed by researchers in a recent study published in Biomedical reports. The findings could support further research into potential new treatment strategies for ADHD, the researchers said.

Usually ADHD starts in childhood, causing children diagnosed with the disorder to have difficulty concentrating and problems with impulsivity. Additionally, ADHD manifests itself at the neurochemical level, for example by disrupting the dopamine and norepinephrine pathways.

However, the amino acids in the brain that can cause these profile changes in children with ADHD are still not fully understood, despite most treatments for the disorder consisting of amino acids. Due to this lack of data on the exact amino acid profile that may lead to the positive response to current ADHD treatments among this population, investigators sought to identify the alterations present in the amino acid profile in the blood serum of children. with ADHD compared to neurotypical children.

“Amino acids play an important role in the development and function of the brain. In particular, certain amino acids or their precursors are well known to be involved in neural signaling as neurotransmitters,” said Anatoly Skalny, DSc, chief of the Department of Medical Elements at RUDN University. Studies – where the study was conducted – in a press release. “As a result, the disruption of amino acid metabolism results in significant neurological disturbances, especially in children. Therefore, unraveling the potential underlying mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD is essential to improve our understanding of the disorder. and further development of management strategies.

During the study, investigators included 102 children aged 7 to 14, of whom 71 had been diagnosed with ADHD and 31 were neurotypical. Using liquid chromatography, investigators assessed the levels of amino acids in the blood serum of study participants. Investigators then compared data from children with ADHD to neurotypical children using statistical methods.

Study results demonstrated that the amino acid profile in children with ADHD differed from that in neurotypical children, with histidine, glutamine, and proline levels 29%, 10%, and 20% lower. , respectively. Conversely, aspartic acid and glutamate were found to be 7% higher, while hydroxyproline was 42% higher.

Researchers found based on this data that the glutamine / glutamate (Gln / Glu) ratio in children with ADHD was 28% lower than in neurotypical children, while the proline / hydroxyproline ratio was 29% lower. . The Gln / Glu ratio is known to be one of the indicators of the transmission of nerve impulses, while the second proline to hydroxyproline (Pro / Hypro) ratio is known to be a marker of disorders of collagen and connective tissue metabolism. .

“The observed alterations in the levels and ratios of Pro / Hypro and Gln / Glu are likely associated with coexisting connective tissue pathology and alterations in glutamatergic neurotransmission in ADHD, respectively,” Skalny said in the press release. hurry. “However, further in vivo and in vitro studies are needed to investigate the detailed mechanisms linking amino acid metabolism to ADHD.”


Doctors at RUDN University are detecting alterations in amino acid profiles in children with ADHD. Biomedical reports; June 17, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021.

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