Heritability of working memory brain activation

Blokland, Gabriella A. M., McMahon, Katie L., Thompson, Paul M., Martin, Nicholas G., de Zubicaray, Greig I. and Wright, Margaret J. (2011) Heritability of working memory brain activation. Journal of Neuroscience, 31 30: 10882-10890. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5334-10.2011

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Author Blokland, Gabriella A. M.
McMahon, Katie L.
Thompson, Paul M.
Martin, Nicholas G.
de Zubicaray, Greig I.
Wright, Margaret J.
Title Heritability of working memory brain activation
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
Publication date 2011-07-27
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5334-10.2011
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 31
Issue 30
Start page 10882
End page 10890
Total pages 9
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Language eng
Abstract Although key to understanding individual variation in task-related brain activation, the genetic contribution to these individual differences remains largely unknown. Here we report voxel-by-voxel genetic model fitting in a large sample of 319 healthy, young adult, human identical and fraternal twins (mean ± SD age, 23.6 ± 1.8 years) who performed an n-back working memory task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at a high magnetic field (4 tesla). Patterns of task-related brain response (BOLD signal difference of 2-back minus 0-back) were significantly heritable, with the highest estimates (40–65%) in the inferior, middle, and superior frontal gyri, left supplementary motor area, precentral and postcentral gyri, middle cingulate cortex, superior medial gyrus, angular gyrus, superior parietal lobule, including precuneus, and superior occipital gyri. Furthermore, high test-retest reliability for a subsample of 40 twins indicates that nongenetic variance in the fMRI brain response is largely due to unique environmental influences rather than measurement error. Individual variations in activation of the working memory network are therefore significantly influenced by genetic factors. By establishing the heritability of cognitive brain function in a large sample that affords good statistical power, and using voxel-by-voxel analyses, this study provides the necessary evidence for task-related brain activation to be considered as an endophenotype for psychiatric or neurological disorders, and represents a substantial new contribution to the field of neuroimaging genetics. These genetic brain maps should facilitate discovery of gene variants influencing cognitive brain function through genome-wide association studies, potentially opening up new avenues in the treatment of brain disorders.
Keyword Fmri Time-Series
Prefrontal Cortex
Twin Fmri
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID RF1 AG041915
U54 EB020403
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 60 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 68 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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