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, 9 (2), 224-33

Prefrontal Morphology, 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism and Biased Attention for Emotional Stimuli

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Prefrontal Morphology, 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism and Biased Attention for Emotional Stimuli

C G Beevers et al. Genes Brain Behav.

Abstract

Biased attention for emotional stimuli has been associated with vulnerability to psychopathology. This study examines the neural substrates of biased attention. Twenty-three adult women completed high-resolution structural imaging followed by a standard behavioral measure of biased attention (i.e. spatial cueing task). Participants were also genotyped for the serotonin transporter-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) gene. Results indicated that lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC) morphology was inversely associated with maintained attention for positive and negative stimuli, but only among short 5-HTTLPR allele carriers. No such associations were observed for the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) or the amygdala. Results from this study suggest that brain regions involved in cognitive control of emotion are also associated with attentional biases for emotion stimuli among short 5-HTTLPR allele carriers.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Prefrontal regions examined in the current study. Panel A is a coronal slice with all ten cortical and associated white matter regions of the prefrontal cortex displayed. The left side of panel B is a medial sagittal slice (showing the medial orbital frontal and the rostral anterior cingulate) and the right side of panel B is a lateral sagittal slice (showing rostral middle frontal, pars triangulars, and pars orbitalis).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Stimuli sequence for valid and invalid trials for the spatial cueing task. Cue stimuli are not to scale for illustration purposes. Blank screen duration varies in order to optimize temporal jitter.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Associations between vlPFC, mPFC, and amygdala volume and biased attention for sad and happy stimuli as a function of 5-HTTLPR allele status. The dashed and solid regression lines are for the LL and S carrier group, respectively.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Box-and-whisker plot for cue validity score presented by cue valence condition and 5-HTTLPR allele status. Diamonds indicate group mean. Data points are plotted within group. Whiskers represent 5th and 9th percentile.

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