The molecular genetics of executive function: Role of monoamine system genes

Barnes, Jessica J. M., Dean, Angela J., Nandam, L. Sanjay, O'Connell, Redmond G. and Bellgrove, Mark A. (2011) The molecular genetics of executive function: Role of monoamine system genes. Biological Psychiatry, 69 12: e127-e143. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.12.040

Author Barnes, Jessica J. M.
Dean, Angela J.
Nandam, L. Sanjay
O'Connell, Redmond G.
Bellgrove, Mark A.
Title The molecular genetics of executive function: Role of monoamine system genes
Journal name Biological Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3223
Publication date 2011-06-15
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.12.040
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 69
Issue 12
Start page e127
End page e143
Total pages 7
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2803 Biological Psychiatry
Abstract Executive control processes, such as sustained attention, response inhibition, and error monitoring, allow humans to guide behavior in appropriate, flexible, and adaptive ways. The consequences of executive dysfunction for humans can be dramatic, as exemplified by the large range of both neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders in which such deficits negatively affect outcome and quality of life. Much evidence suggests that many clinical disorders marked by executive deficits are highly heritable and that individual differences in quantitative measures of executive function are strongly driven by genetic differences. Accordingly, intense research effort has recently been directed toward mapping the genetic architecture of executive control processes in both clinical (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and nonclinical populations. Here we review the extant literature on the molecular genetic correlates of three exemplar but dissociable executive functions: sustained attention, response inhibition, and error processing. Our review focuses on monoaminergic gene variants given the strong body of evidence from cognitive neuroscience and pharmacology implicating dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin as neuromodulators of executive function. Associations between DNA variants of the dopamine beta hydroxylase gene and measures of sustained attention accord well with cognitive-neuroanatomical models of sustained attention. Equally, functional variants of the dopamine D2 receptor gene are reliably associated with performance monitoring, error processing, and reinforcement learning. Emerging evidence suggests that variants of the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) and dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) show promise for explaining significant variance in individual differences in both behavioral and neural measures of inhibitory control.
Keyword Attention
Executive function
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 569532
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Prefrontal Cortical Circuits Regulating Attention, Behavior and Emotion

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2012 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 75 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 80 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 07 Dec 2011, 21:30:42 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute