Overdominant effect of a CHRNA4 polymorphism on cingulo-opercular network activity and cognitive control

Sadaghiani, Sepideh and Ng, Bernard and Altmann, Andre and Poline, Jean-Baptiste and Banaschewski, Tobias and Bokde, Arun L.W. and Bromberg, Uli and Büchel, Christian and Quinlan, Erin Burke and Conrod, Patricia J. and Desrivières, Sylvane and Flor, Herta and Frouin, Vincent and Garavan, Hugh and Gowland, Penny A. and Gallinat, Jürgen and Heinz, Andreas and Ittermann, Bernd and Martinot, Jean-Luc and Martinot, Marie-Laure Paillère and Lemaitre, Hervé and Nees, Frauke and Orfanos, Dimitri Papadopoulos and Paus, Tomáš and Poustka, Luise and Millenet, Sabina and Fröhner, Juliane H. and Smolka, Michael N. and Walter, Henrik and Whelan, Robert and Schumann, Gunter and Napolioni, Valerio and Greicius, Michael (2017) Overdominant effect of a CHRNA4 polymorphism on cingulo-opercular network activity and cognitive control. Journal of Neuroscience . ISSN 1529-2401

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Abstract

The nicotinic system plays an important role in cognitive control, and is implicated in several neuropsychiatric conditions. Yet, the contributions of genetic variability in this system to individuals' cognitive control abilities are poorly understood, and the brain processes that mediate such genetic contributions remain largely unidentified. In this first large-scale neuroimaging genetics study of the human nicotinic receptor system (two cohorts, males and females, fMRI total N=1586, behavioral total N=3650), we investigated a common polymorphism of the high-affinity nicotinic receptor α4β2 (rs1044396 on the CHRNA4 gene) previously implicated in behavioral and nicotine-related studies (albeit with inconsistent major/minor allele impacts). Based on our prior neuroimaging findings, we expected this polymorphism to impact neural activity in the cingulo-opercular network involved in core cognitive control processes including maintenance of alertness. Consistent across the cohorts, all cortical areas of the cingulo-opercular network showed higher activity in heterozygotes compared to both types of homozygotes during cognitive engagement. This inverted U-shaped relation reflects an overdominant effect, i.e. allelic interaction (cumulative evidence p=1.33*10-5). Furthermore, heterozygotes performed more accurately in behavioral tasks that primarily depend on sustained alertness. No effects were observed for haplotypes of the surrounding CHRNA4 region, supporting a true overdominant effect at rs1044396. As a possible mechanism, we observed that this polymorphism is an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) modulating CHRNA4 expression levels. This is the first report of overdominance in the nicotinic system. These findings connect CHRNA4genotype, cingulo-opercular network activation and sustained alertness, providing insights into how genetics shapes individuals' cognitive control abilities.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Identification Number: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0991-17.2017
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 07:32
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 16:47
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/45215

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