The β2-adrenergic receptor is part of the catecholamine system, and variants at two polymorphic sites in the gene coding for the receptor (ADRB2) confer increased activity. Overstimulation of this receptor may alter brain development, and has been linked to autism in non-identical twins. The objective of this study was to determine whether alleles in ADRB2 are associated with diagnosis of autism in the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) population. Three hundred and thirty-one independent autism case-parent trios were included in the analysis. Subjects were genotyped at activity-related polymorphisms rs1042713 (codon 16) and rs1042714 (codon 27). Association between autism and genotypes at each polymorphic site was tested using genotype-based transmission disequilibrium tests, and effect modification by family and pregnancy characteristics was evaluated. Sensitivity to designation of the proband in each family was assessed by performing 1000 repeats of the analysis selecting affected children randomly. A statistically significant OR of 1.66 for the Glu27 homozygous genotype was observed. Increased associations with this genotype were observed among a subset of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule confirmed cases and a subset reporting experience of pregnancy-related stressors. In conclusion, the Glu27 allele of the ADRB2 gene may confer increased risk of autism and shows increased strength with exposure to pregnancy related stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience