Objective: The two objectives of this study were (1) to replicate the previous finding that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ANKK1 gene (SNP rs1800497 formerly known as the DRD2 TAQ1 A allele) is associated with measures of learning and response latency after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and (2) to further characterize the genetic basis of the effect by testing the strength of association and degree of linkage disequilibrium between the cognitive outcome measures and a selected ensemble of 31 polymorphisms from three adjacent genes in the region of rs1800497.
Method: A cohort of 54 patients with TBI and 21 comparison subjects were genotyped for the DRD2 TAQ1 A polymorphism (rs1800497). Ninety-three patients with TBI and 48 comparison subjects (the current cohort and an earlier independent cohort) were also genotyped for 31 additional neighbouring polymorphisms in NCAM, ANKK1 and DRD2. TBI patients were studied 1 month after injury. All subjects completed memory and attention tests, including the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) recognition task and the Gordon Continuous Performance Test (CPT).
Results: As in a previous study the T allele of TAQ1 A (rs1800497) was associated with poorer performance on the CVLT recognition trial in both TBI and control subjects. There was also a significant diagnosis-by-allele interaction on CPT measures of response latency, largely driven by slower performance in the TBI participants with the T allele. Analysis of 31 additional neighbouring polymorphisms from NCAM, ANKK1 and DRD2 in the TBI patients showed four haploblocks. A haploblock of three SNPs in ANKK1 (rs11604671, rs4938016 and rs1800497 (TAQ1A)) showed the greatest association with cognitive outcome measures.
Conclusions: The results confirm a previously published association between the TAQ1 A (rs1800497) T allele and cognitive outcome measures 1 month after TBI and suggest that a haploblock of polymorphisms in ANKK1, rather than the adjacent DRD2 gene, has the highest association with these measures after TBI.