Spatial-anatomical mapping of NoGo-P3 in the offspring of alcoholics: evidence of cognitive and neural disinhibition as a risk for alcoholism

Clin Neurophysiol. 2005 May;116(5):1049-61. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2004.12.015.


Objective: The concept of disinhibition as a behavioral and biological trait has been considered to be involved in the etiology of alcoholism and its co-existing disorders. The magnitude and functional mapping of event-related potential P3(00) components were analyzed, in order to examine the possible response inhibition deficits in the offspring of alcoholics.

Methods: The P3 components were compared between 50 offspring of alcoholics (OA) and a matched normal control group (NC) using a visual Go/NoGo task. The low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) was used to analyze the functional brain mapping between groups.

Results: The results indicated that the OA group manifested decreased P3 amplitude during the NoGo but not the Go condition compared to the NC group. The voxel-by-voxel analysis in LORETA showed group differences at several brain regions including prefrontal areas during the processing of NoGo but not Go signals.

Conclusions: The decreased NoGo-P3 suggests that cognitive and neural disinhibition in offspring of alcoholics may serve as a neurocognitive index for a phenotypic marker in the development of alcoholism and related disorders.

Significance: Dysfunctional neural and response inhibition in the offspring of alcoholics perhaps provides an endophenotypic marker of risk for the development of alcoholism and related disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Risk Factors