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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 Apr;16(3):525-34. doi: 10.1017/S1461145712000478. Epub 2012 May 21.

Dopamine D4 receptor gene variation is associated with context-dependent attention for emotion stimuli.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 2806, USA. Tony_Wells@Brown.edu

Abstract

Dopamine D(4) receptor (DRD4) gene variation has been associated with biased attention for contextually relevant information (e.g. images of cigarettes among smokers). No research has examined whether DRD4 variation is associated with biased attention for contextually cued emotion stimuli, an important putative intermediate phenotype for a number of pathologies (e.g. depression and anxiety). We conducted two studies examining the relationship between the DRD4 variable number tandem repeats polymorphism and attention bias for facial expressions of emotion following a mood-state manipulation in healthy young adult samples. Study 1 demonstrated that long (i.e. seven or greater tandem repeats) DRD4 allele carriers vs. short DRD4 homozygotes had increased attention for sad facial stimuli, but only after a sad mood provocation. Study 2 demonstrated an association between the long DRD4 allele and attention for negative stimuli (sad and fear expressions) following a sad mood provocation. These studies are the first to demonstrate an association between the long DRD4 allele and biased attention for contextually cued emotion stimuli, an important cognitive mechanism thought to increase risk for affective psychopathology. Implications of these studies for vulnerability and plasticity models of psychiatric genetics are discussed.

PMID:
22607734
PMCID:
PMC3799761
DOI:
10.1017/S1461145712000478
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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