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Neuropsychobiology. 2013;68(2):79-90. doi: 10.1159/000350997. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Neuropsychological correlates of transcription factor AP-2Beta, and its interaction with COMT and MAOA in healthy females.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, and JARA-Translational Brain Medicine, Aachen, Germany.



The transcription factor AP-2β has been shown to impact clinical and neuropsychological properties. Apparently, it regulates the transcription of genes that code for molecules which are part of the catecholaminergic transmission system. This investigation focuses on possible effects of the transcription factor AP-2β intron 2 polymorphism on cognitive performance parameters.


This hypothesis-driven investigation examined the effects and interactions of the transcription factor AP-2β intron 2 polymorphism, the Val158Met catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) polymorphism, and the variable number of tandem repeat polymorphism of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) on cognitive performance parameters within a group of 200 healthy women (age: mean ± SD, 23.93 ± 3.33 years).


The AP-2β polymorphism significantly influenced cognitive performance (in particular, the Trail Making Test part B), whereas the MAOA and COMT polymorphisms did not. However, there was an interaction effect of the AP-2β × MAOA × COMT genotypes on the decision bias β of the degraded-stimulus version of the continuous performance task. Only the Val158Met COMT polymorphism showed an influence on personality questionnaires (openness and self-transcendence; NEO Five-Factor Inventory, Temperament and Character Inventory).


The transcription factor AP-2β intron 2 polymorphism had more influence on cognition than the MAOA and COMT polymorphisms. Possibly, the AP-2β genotype might influence cognition through pathways other than those that regulate MAOA and COMT transcription. Interactions of transcription factor AP-2β, COMT, and MAOA polymorphisms suggest higher leverage effects of transcription factor AP-2β in subjects with high dopamine availability.

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