Gut microbiota signature in treatment-naïve attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder

Dr. Cristina Sánchez-Mora

Compelling evidence supports alterations in gut microbial diversity, bacterial composition, and/or relative abundance of several bacterial taxa in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, findings for ADHD are inconsistent among studies, and specific gut microbiome signatures for the disorder remain unknown. Given that previous studies have mainly focused on the pediatric form of the disorder and involved small sample sizes, we conducted the largest study to date to compare the gastrointestinal microbiome composition in 100 medication-naïve adults with ADHD and 100 sex-matched healthy controls. We found evidence that ADHD subjects have differences in the relative abundance of several microbial taxa. At the family level, our data support a lower relative abundance of Gracilibacteraceae and higher levels of Selenomonadaceae and Veillonellaceae in adults with ADHD. In addition, the ADHD group showed higher levels of Dialister and Megamonas and lower abundance of Anaerotaenia and Gracilibacter at the genus level. All four selected genera explained 15% of the variance of ADHD, and this microbial signature achieved an overall sensitivity of 74% and a specificity of 71% for distinguishing between ADHD patients and healthy controls. We also tested whether the selected genera correlate with age, body mass index (BMI), or scores of the ADHD rating scale but found no evidence of correlation between genera relative abundance and any of the selected traits. These results are in line with recent studies supporting gut microbiome alterations in neurodevelopment disorders, but further studies are needed to elucidate the role of the gut microbiota on the ADHD across the lifespan and its contribution to the persistence of the disorder from childhood to adulthood.

Publication information

Title: Gut microbiota signature in treatment-naïve attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Authors: Vanesa Richarte, Cristina Sánchez-Mora, Montserrat Corrales, Christian Fadeuilhe, Laura Vilar-Ribó, Lorena Arribas, Estela Garcia, Silvia Karina Rosales-Ortiz, Alejandro Arias-Vasquez, María Soler-Artigas, Marta Ribasés & Josep Antoni Ramos-Quiroga

Journal: Translational Psychiatry

Year: 2021