Unraveling the Contribution of Serotonergic Polymorphisms, Prefrontal Alpha Asymmetry, and Individual Alpha Peak Frequency to the Emotion-Related Impulsivity Endophenotype

Florian Javelle*, Andreas Löw, Wilhelm Bloch, Thomas Hosang, Thomas Jacobsen, Sheri L. Johnson, Alexander Schenk, Philipp Zimmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The unique contribution of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR), intronic region 2 (STin2), and monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) genes to individual differences in personality traits has been widely explored, and research has shown that certain forms of these polymorphisms relate to impulsivity and impulsivity-related disorders. Humans showing these traits are also described as having an asymmetrical prefrontal cortical activity when compared to others. In this explorative study, we examine the relationship between serotonergic neurotransmission polymorphisms, cortical activity features (prefrontal alpha asymmetry, individual alpha peak frequency [iAPF]), emotion-related and non-emotion-related impulsivity in humans. 5-HTTLPR, MAO-A, and STin2 polymorphisms were assessed in blood taken from 91 participants with high emotion-related impulsivity levels. Sixty-seven participants completed resting electroencephalography and a more comprehensive impulsivity index. In univariate analyses, iAPF correlated with both forms of emotion-related impulsivity. In multiple linear regression models, 5-HTTLPR polymorphism (model 1, adj. R ² = 15.2%) and iAPF were significant interacting predictors of emotion-related impulsivity, explaining a large share of the results’ variance (model 2, adj. R ² = 21.2%). Carriers of the low transcriptional activity 5-HTTPLR and MAO-A phenotypes obtained higher emotion-related impulsivity scores than others did. No significant results were detected for non-emotion-related impulsivity or for a form of emotion-related impulsivity involving cognitive/motivational reactivity to emotion. Our findings support an endophenotypic approach to impulsivity, showing that tri-allelic 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, iAPF, and their interaction are relevant predictors of one form of emotion-related impulsivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Volume59
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
ISSN1559-1182
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19.07.2022

Research areas and keywords

  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Alpha asymmetry
  • Emotion-related impulsivity
  • Individual alpha peak frequency
  • MAO-A
  • STin2

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