Effect of 5-HT1A-receptor functional polymorphism on Theory of Mind performances in schizophrenia

Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jul 30;188(2):187-90. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.11.014. Epub 2010 Dec 30.


Theory of Mind (ToM) abilities are known to be impaired in schizophrenia and data from functional brain imaging studies showed that ToM deficit is correlated to prefrontal cortex (PFC) dysfunction. Moreover, several lines of evidence suggest a critical role for dopaminergic-serotoninergic interactions at the PFC level. In this view, we aimed to analyse the specific effect of the -1019C/G functional polymorphism of the serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1A-R), involved in both serotonin and dopamine transmission regulation. A total of 118 clinically stabilised schizophrenia patients was assessed with a neuropsychological battery, including evaluation of IQ, verbal memory, attention and executive function and a ToM task; they also underwent 5-HT1A-R genotyping. We observed a significant effect of the 5-HT1A-R genotype on ToM performances, with the CC genotype performing significantly better. The finding suggests an effect of the 5-HT1A-R polymorphism on ToM cognitive performance in schizophrenia patients, probably through complex interactions between dopaminergic and serotoninergic systems, involved in mentalising.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Theory of Mind / physiology*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology


  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A