- Low serotonin activity has been associated in both animal and human studies with measures of impulsivity, aggression, and disinhibited behaviors. Recently, a common 44-bp deletion in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) that results in reduced transcription and lower transporter protein levels was described. Toward unraveling a possible role of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in childhood disruptive behaviors, we examined this gene in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a heterogeneous childhood disorder in which three phenotypes are recognized by DSM IV criteria: inattentive (type I), hyperactive-impulsive (type II), and combined type (type III). By using the haplotype relative risk design, a group of 98 triads (both parents and proband child) were tested for a possible association between 5-HTTLPR and ADHD. A significant decrease in the short/short 5-HTTLPR genotype was observed in the ADHD type III combined group (10.29% vs. 30.88%) compared with the HRR-derived control group (likelihood ratio = 9.62, P = 0.008, n = 68 triads). Similar results were observed when allele frequencies were compared (likelihood ratio = 3.81, P = 0.05, n = 136 alleles). These first findings should be interpreted cautiously until replicated in independently recruited clinical samples. Am. J. Med. Genet. (Neuropsychiatr. Genet.) 105:91–95, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.