Sustained attention as measured by the Continuous Performance Test (CPT) has proved a valuable endophenotype for schizophrenia. Recently pharmacological studies suggested a role of the serotonin (5-HT) 3 receptor in schizophrenia. The 5-HT3 receptors are the only ligand-gated ion channels within the 5-HT receptor family. Applying an endophenotype approach, we investigated a potential impact of the genes of the 5-HT3A and 5-HT3B subunits as well as the novel 5-HT3C, 5-HT3D, and 5-HT3E subunits on CPT performance in subjects with schizophrenia. The study included 196 patients with schizophrenia, 113 of their parents, and 205 healthy controls recruited from community registers. Sustained attention was assessed with the Continuous Performance Test-Identical Pairs (CPT-IP). Assessing functional and coding variants of the 5-HT3 receptor subunit genes, we found the GG genotype of the 5-HT3E subunit gene (rs7627615; Thr86Ala) to be associated with better attentional capacities in subjects with schizophrenia and healthy controls. This study provides additional evidence for a role of the serotonergic system and the 5-HT3 receptor in schizophrenia.
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