Association between amygdala reactivity and a dopamine transporter gene polymorphism.
Essential for detection of relevant external stimuli and for fear processing, the amygdala is under modulatory influence of dopamine (DA). The DA transporter (DAT) is of fundamental importance for the regulation of DA transmission by mediating reuptake inactivation of extracellular DA. This study examined if a common functional variable number tandem repeat polymorphism in the 3' untranslated region of the DAT gene (SLC6A3) influences amygdala function during the processing of aversive emotional stimuli. Amygdala reactivity was examined by comparing regional cerebral blood flow, measured with positron emission tomography and [(15)O]water, during exposure to angry and neutral faces, respectively, in a Swedish sample comprising 32 patients with social anxiety disorder and 17 healthy volunteers. In a separate US sample, comprising 85 healthy volunteers studied with blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging, amygdala reactivity was assessed by comparing the activity during exposure to threatening faces and neutral geometric shapes, respectively. In both the Swedish and the US sample, 9-repeat carriers displayed higher amygdala reactivity than 10-repeat homozygotes. The results suggest that this polymorphism contributes to individual variability in amygdala reactivity.
Bergman, O; Åhs, F; Furmark, T; Appel, L; Linnman, C; Faria, V; Bani, M; Pich, EM; Bettica, P; Henningsson, S; Manuck, SB; Ferrell, RE; Nikolova, YS; Hariri, AR; Fredrikson, M; Westberg, L; Eriksson, E
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