Young, G.S., Maharaj, N.J., Conquer, J.A. (2004) Lipids 39(2) 117-23.
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Several psychiatric disorders, including juvenile Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), have been associated with abnormalities of certain long-chain PUFA (LCPUFA). Despite this reported association, the FA levels of patients with the adult form of ADHD have not previously been evaluated. In this study we measured the total blood phospholipid FA concentrations in 35 control subjects and 37 adults with ADHD symptoms to determine whether adults with ADHD symptoms would show abnormalities of FA relative to control subjects. In the serum phospholipids, adults with ADHD symptoms had significantly lower levels of total saturated, total polyunsaturated, and total omega-6 (n-6) FA, as well as the omega-3 (n-3) LCPUFA DHA (22:6n-3), and significantly higher levels of total monounsaturated FA and the n-3 LCPUFA docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3). In the erythrocyte membrane phospholipids, adults with ADHD symptoms had significantly lower levels of total PUFA, total n-3 FA, and DHA, and significantly higher levels of total saturated FA. Neither serum nor erythrocyte membrane phospholipid DHA was related to ADHD symptom severity (as assessed by the Amen questionnaire) in ADHD subjects. Although the exact cause of these variations is unknown, both environmental and genetic factors may be involved.