The D2 dopamine receptor gene variant C957T affects human fear conditioning and aversive priming

Genes Brain Behav. 2010 Feb;9(1):103-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00543.x. Epub 2009 Oct 7.


Polymorphisms of DRD2 and ANKK1 have been associated with psychiatric syndromes where there is believed to be an underlying learning process deficit such as addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychopathy. We investigated the effects of the DRD2 C957T and ANKK1 TaqIA single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), which have been associated with psychopathic traits in alcoholic patients, on fear conditioning and aversive priming in healthy volunteers. We found that the DRD2 C957T SNP, but not the ANKK1 TaqIA SNP, was associated with both differential conditioning of the skin conductance response and the aversive priming effect. There were no differences between the genotype groups with respect to the extinction of the skin-conductance conditioned response. These results suggest that the C957T SNP could be related to learning differences associated with the risk of developing psychiatric disorders in individuals that are carriers of the C homozygous genotype. Our genetic data raise the possibility that the dopaminergic system functional variations determined by this SNP could affect fear learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Cysteine
  • Electroshock
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Face
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Threonine
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Threonine
  • ANKK1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Cysteine