Alterations in serum amino acid profiles in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Anatoly V. Skalny, Anna L. Mazaletskaya, Irina P. Zaitseva, Andrey A. Skalny, Demetrios A. Spandidos, Aristidis Tsatsakis, Yulia N. Lobanova, Margarita G. Skalnaya, Michael Aschner, Alexey A. Tinkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the circulating serum amino acid levels in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A total of 71 children with untreated ADHD and 31 neurotypical controls aged 7-14 years old were examined. Serum amino acid levels were evaluated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV-detection. Laboratory quality control was performed with reference materials of human plasma amino acid levels. The obtained data demonstrated that children with ADHD were characterized by 29, 10 and 20% lower serum histidine (His), glutamine (Gln) and proline (Pro) levels compared with neurotypical children, respectively. In contrast, circulating aspartate (Asp), glutamate (Glu) and hydroxyproline (Hypro) levels exceeded the respective control values by 7, 7 and 42%. Correspondingly, the Gln-to-Glu and Pro-to-Hypro ratios were 28% and 49%, respectively, lower in ADHD cases compared with the controls. Total Gln/Glu levels were also significantly lower in ADHD patients. No significant group differences were observed between the groups in the other amino acids analyzed, including phenylalanine. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed significant associations between circulating serum Gln, lysine (Lys) (both negative) and Glu (positive) levels with total ADHD Rating Scale-IV scores. The observed alterations in Pro/Hypro and Gln/Glu levels and ratios are likely associated with the coexisting connective tissue pathology and alterations in glutamatergic neurotransmission in ADHD, respectively. Altered circulating levels of His, Lys and Asp may also be implicated in ADHD pathogenesis. However, further in vivo and in vitro studies are required in order to investigate the detailed mechanisms linking amino acid metabolism with ADHD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalBiomedical Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Glutamine
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Lysine
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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