Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jan;36(1):572-603. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

The P300 event-related brain potential as a neurobiological endophenotype for substance use disorders: a meta-analytic investigation.

Author information

Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Endophenotypes are intermediate phenotypes on the putative causal pathway from genotype to phenotype and can aid in discovering the genetic etiology of a disorder. There are currently very few suitable endophenotypes available for substance use disorders (SUD). The amplitude of the P300 event-related brain potential is a possible candidate. The present study determined whether the P300 amplitude fulfils two fundamental criteria for an endophenotype: (1) an association with the disorder (disease marker), and (2) presence in unaffected biological relatives of those who have the disorder (vulnerability marker). For this purpose, two separate meta-analyses were performed. Meta-analysis 1 investigated the P300 amplitude in relation to SUD in 39 studies and Meta-analysis 2 investigated P300 amplitude in relation to a family history (FH+) of SUD in 35 studies. The findings indicate that a reduced P300 amplitude is significantly associated with SUD (d=0.51) and, though to a lesser extent, with a FH+ of SUD (d=0.28). As a disease maker, the association between reduced P300 amplitude and SUD is significantly larger for participants that were exclusively recruited from treatment facilities (d=0.67) than by other methods (i.e., community samples and family studies; d=0.45 and 0.32, respectively), and larger for abstinent SUD patients (d=0.71) than for current substance users (d=0.37). Furthermore, in contrast to FH+ males, a P300 amplitude reduction seems not to be present in FH+ females (d=-0.07). Taken together, these results suggest that P300 amplitude reduction can be both a useful disease and vulnerability marker and is a promising neurobiological endophenotype for SUD, though only in males. Implications and future directions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center