Early event-related potentials to emotional faces differ for adults with autism spectrum disorder and by serotonin transporter genotype.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: To test differences in neural sensitivity to facial expressions, including expressions with open versus closed mouths, exhibited by (1) adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to neurotypical adults, and by (2) short versus long serotonin transporter allele (SLC6A4) carriers. METHODS: Event related potentials (ERPs) to happy, fearful, and neutral expressions were collected from neurotypical adults (n=25) and adults with ASD (n=27)-of whom 32 had short and 13 had homozygous long SLC6A4 alleles. RESULTS: In the neurotypical group, we confirmed that the N170, VPP and EPN, but not the P1, were influenced by emotional expressions, and determined the EPN was the earliest component modulated by open mouth. Compared to the neurotypical group, individuals with ASD exhibited differences in EPN amplitude in response to open versus closed mouths and in hemispheric distribution. Across groups, short serotonin transporter allele carriers had reduced P1 amplitude compared to long allele carriers. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with ASD exhibited a different pattern of neural response when encoding and recognizing facial expressions at the EPN component. Across groups, SLC6A4 allele type modulated early sensory attention at the P1. SIGNIFICANCE: These results provide insight into the nature of early responses to emotional information according to genetic variation and clinical condition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Faja, S; Dawson, G; Aylward, E; Wijsman, EM; Webb, SJ

Published Date

  • June 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 127 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 2436 - 2447

PubMed ID

  • 27178863

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5279301

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8952

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.clinph.2016.02.022


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands