Human choline transporter gene variation is associated with corticolimbic reactivity and autonomic-cholinergic function.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Our previous work has shown genetic variation in the human choline transporter gene (CHT1) to be associated with depressive symptoms and autonomic cardiac (cholinergic) dysregulation. Here, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine the relation between a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in CHT1 on regional brain reactivity relevant to autonomic (cholinergic) function.


Thirty-two participants of European ancestry (18 men, 14 women; age: 33-54 years) completed an fMRI protocol using corticolimbic reactivity and prefrontal inhibitory control paradigms. Resting cholinergic function, as measured by heart rate variability (HRV), was quantified from electrocardiogram. Subjects were genotyped for a CHT1 G/T SNP.


GG homozygotes had greater right (R) dorsal amygdala (p < .008), bilateral anterior cingulate (p < .009), and R caudate reactivity (p < .015) than T-allele carriers. Heart rate variability was related to R frontal cortex (Brodmann Areas 6, 9, and 46), R hippocampal formation, bilateral caudate, and bilateral anterior cingulate reactivity (p's < .007).


CHT1 variation is related to differences in a distributed corticolimbic circuitry mediating behavioral and physiologic arousal. These relations may contribute to a biological mechanism by which genetic variation in cholinergic neurotransmission affects cognition, mood, and autonomic cardiac function.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Neumann, SA; Brown, SM; Ferrell, RE; Flory, JD; Manuck, SB; Hariri, AR

Published Date

  • November 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 60 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1155 - 1162

PubMed ID

  • 16876130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2402

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3223

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.059


  • eng