Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder highly prevalent in children. The neurobiology of ADHD is still not clear, but is assumed to be related to disturbances in catecholaminergic and serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) systems. Peripheral indices of central 5-HT function were shown in recent studies to be lower, unaltered, or increased in ADHD. Methods: The study determined platelet 5-HT concentration in 84 medication-free 9-year-old (range 4–14 years) boys and girls with DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD, subdivided according to the different symptoms (inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity) and clinical ADHD subtypes (predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, and combined subtype), and in 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Results: Children with ADHD had similar platelet 5-HT concentrations to control children. Platelet 5-HT concentration did not differ between boys and girls, or between children with a hyperactive, inattentive, or combined subtype of ADHD. In children with ADHD there was a significant positive correlation between platelet 5-HT concentration and impulsive symptoms, but not with symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity.Platelet 5-HT concentration wassignificantly higher in impulsive compared to non-impulsive children with ADHD. Conclusion: The data provide preliminary evidence that increased platelet 5-HT concentration might be a trait marker predictive of impulsivity in ADHD.

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