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Am J Hum Genet. 1994 Apr;54(4):658-68.

Prolonged P300 latency in children with the D2 dopamine receptor A1 allele.

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  • 1Alcohol Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles 90024-1759.


Previous studies have indicated the presence of a hereditary component in the generation of the P300, or P3, a late positive component of the event-related potential. Moreover, the dopaminergic system has been implicated in the P3. In the present study, 98 healthy Caucasian boys, mean age of 12.5 years and of above-average intelligence, were studied. The sample was composed of 32 sons of active alcoholic (SAA) fathers, 36 sons of recovering alcoholic (SRA) fathers, and 30 sons of social drinker (SSD) fathers, with none of them having yet begun to consume alcohol or other drugs. TaqI A D2 dopamine receptor alleles (A1 and A2) were determined. A significant difference in the frequency of the A1 allele was found among these three groups of boys, with the SAA group having the highest A1 allele frequency (.313), followed by the SRA (.139) and the SSD (.133) groups. The relationship of the A1 and A2 alleles to P3 amplitude and latency was also determined. The results showed no significant difference in P3 amplitude between boys with the A1 and A2 allele. However, P3 latency was significantly longer in the total sample of boys with the A1 allele compared with those carrying the A2 allele. These findings suggest that polymorphism of the D2 dopamine receptor gene is an important determinant of P3 latency.

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