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Neurosci Res. 2012 Feb;72(2):187-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2011.10.009. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Relationship of prepulse inhibition to temperament and character in healthy Japanese subjects.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashicho, Kodaira, Tokyo 1878553, Japan.


Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of acoustic startle reflex (ASR) and personality, such as temperament and character, are considered candidate endophenotypes of schizophrenia. Gene polymorphism studies have provided evidence that both PPI and self-transcendence (ST) are polygenetic traits that involve several neurotransmitters, including the serotonin and dopamine signaling pathways. However, the relationship between PPI and temperament/character has not been properly addressed to date. Here, we investigated the link between PPI and temperament/character in 169 healthy Japanese subjects. A human startle response monitoring system was used to deliver acoustic startle stimuli and to record and score the electromyographic activity of the orbicularis oculi muscle. PPI was evaluated at signal-to-noise ratios (SnRs: intensity difference between background noise and prepulse) of +12, +16, and +20 dB. The lead interval (from prepulse onset to pulse onset) was 120 ms, and Temperament and Character Inventory was used in both groups. Significant correlations at SnR of +16 and +20 dB to ST were identified. Our results suggest that impaired sensorimotor gating, evaluated as lower PPI of ASR, of healthy subjects is correlated with self transcendence, the character which is closely related with schizophrenia and schizotypy.

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