M. de Rover
- Dopamine and the management of attentional resources: genetic markers of striatal D2 dopamine predict individual differences in the attentional blink
- Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 23 | 11
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The attentional blink (AB)—a deficit in reporting the second of two target stimuli presented in close succession in a rapid sequence of distracters—has been related to processing limitations in working memory. Given that dopamine (DA) plays a crucial role working memory, the present study tested whether individual differences in the size of the AB can be predicted by differences in genetic predisposition related to the efficiency of dopaminergic pathways. Polymorphisms related to mesocortical and nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathways were considered, as well as polymorphisms related to norepinephrine (NE), a transmitter system that has also been suspected to play a role in the AB. In a sample of 157 healthy adults, we studied the dependency of the individual magnitude of the AB and the C957T polymorphism at the DRD2 gene (associated with striatal DA/D2 receptors), the DARPP32 polymorphism (associated with striatal DA/D1), the COMT Val158Met polymorphism (associated with frontal DA), DBH444 g/a and DBH5′-ins/del polymorphisms (polymorphisms strongly correlated with DA beta hydroxylase, the enzyme catalyzing the DA-NE conversion) and NET T-182C (a polymorphism related to the NE transporter). DRD2 C957T T/T homozygotes showed a significantly smaller AB, whereas polymorphisms associated with frontal DA and NE were unrelated to performance. This outcome pattern suggests a crucial role of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway and of nigrostriatal D2 receptors, in particular, in the management of attentional resources.
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