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The Dopamine Receptor D2 C957T Polymorphism Modulates Early Components of Event-Related Potentials in Visual Word Recognition Task

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Background: Visual word recognition is one of the central topics in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Genetic factors are known to contribute to the visual word recognition, but no genes associated with this process have been identified so far.

We studied the impact of the DRD2 C957T polymorphism on the efficiency of visual word recognition by measuring its neuronal correlates and behavioral parameters. Early (similar to 200 ms) components of event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded during a lexical decision task.

The DRD2 C957T polymorphism is thought to be associated with D2 receptor's availability and binding potential. Earlier studies have demonstrated the influence of this variation on perception and processing of verbal stimuli.

The DRD2 C957T is also associated with schizophrenia, with the C allele being the risk allele. Methods: Electroencephalogram, genetic, and behavioral data were collected from 96 healthy individuals (53.1% men).

ERPs were recorded for words and pseudowords in implicit and explicit tasks. Two regions of interests in the left ventral temporal cortex, whose role in early visual word processing is well established, were selected for analysis.

Results: The results showed the main effect of the DRD2 C957T polymorphism on P200 amplitude. Carriers of the TT genotype had higher P200 amplitudes compared to subjects with schizophrenia risk C allele.

Within-group comparisons demonstrated a better ability to adjust attention to orthographic stimuli depending on task demands and lexicality in the TT group. Conclusion: The results of the study suggest that the DRD2 C957T polymorphism modulates early stages of visual word recognition. (