Event Abstract

Prefrontal and striatal dopamine influence cognitive control: gene-gene and gene-gender interactions.

  • 1 Monash University and The Alfred Hospital, Central Clinical School, Australia
  • 2 Swinburne University of Technology, Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre (BPsyC),Faculty of Life and Social Sciences , Australia

Introduction: The exploration of genetic variations along the dopaminergic pathway provides one avenue to better understand the complex and interacting influences of prefrontal and striatal dopamine on cognition. This study examined the influence of common and functional polymorphisms of the catechol-O-methyltransferase [COMT] gene, the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) and the dopamine receptor D2 [DRD2] gene on cognitive control in a healthy sample.
Methods: A total of 338 healthy adults, selected from an international consortium linked to Brain Research and Integrative Neuroscience (BRAINnet), were genotyped. Cognitive measures were selected to explore attention (sustained attention and switching of attention), working memory and inhibitory control. Interactions between genotypes were explored using Multivariate Analyses of Variance. Gender was also explored as an additional variable given previous research suggesting gender dopamine interactions.
Results: Working memory and sustained attention task were both influenced by significant COMT X DRD2 X DAT1 X Gender interactions. Different aspects of switching of attention were influenced by significant COMT X Gender; DRD2 X Gender; and DRD2 X DAT1 interactions. Striatal dopamine (DRD2 and DAT1) but not COMT influenced inhibitory control.
Discussion: The findings from this study have demonstrated how gene-gene-gender interactions variously influence different aspects of cognitive control in a large, non-clinical population. The findings highlight the importance of genetic variation in baseline dopamine levels as well as gender, when considering the impact of dopamine on cognition in healthy populations, as well as having important implications for the many neuropsychiatric disorders that implicate dopamine, cognitive changes and gender differences.


We acknowledge the data and support provided by BRAINnet; www.BRAINnet.net, under the governance of the BRAINnet Foundation. We also thank the individuals who gave their time to participate in the database. We would also like to acknowledge Prof Peter R Schofield and Dr. Carol Dobson-Stone for conducting the genotyping and A/Prof Denny Meyer for her statistical advice. This work was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) early career fellowship (CG).

Keywords: COMT, dopamine transorter gene, DRD2 gene, Attention, sex differences, Inhibitory Control, working memory

Conference: ACNS-2013 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Nov - 1 Dec, 2013.

Presentation Type: Oral

Topic: Executive Processes

Citation: Gurvich C and Rossell SL (2013). Prefrontal and striatal dopamine influence cognitive control: gene-gene and gene-gender interactions.. Conference Abstract: ACNS-2013 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2013.212.00164

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Received: 15 Oct 2013; Published Online: 25 Nov 2013.

* Correspondence: Dr. Caroline Gurvich, Monash University and The Alfred Hospital, Central Clinical School, Melbourne, Australia, caroline.gurvich@monash.edu