Variation in Key Genes of Serotonin and Norepinephrine Function Predicts Gamma-Band Activity during Goal-Directed Attention

Soeren Enge*, Monika Fleischhauer, Klaus-Peter Lesch, Andreas Reif, Alexander Strobel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)


Recent evidence shows that genetic variations in key regulators of serotonergic (5-HT) signaling explain variance in executive tasks, which suggests modulatory actions of 5-HT on goal-directed selective attention as one possible underlying mechanism. To investigate this link, 130 volunteers were genotyped for the 5-HT transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and for a variation (TPH2-703 G/T) of the TPH2 gene coding for the rate-limiting enzyme of 5-HT synthesis in the brain. Additionally, a functional polymorphism of the norepinephrine transporter gene (NET -3081 A/T) was considered, which was recently found to predict attention and working memory processes in interaction with serotonergic genes. The flanker-based Attention Network Test was used to assess goal-directed attention and the efficiency of attentional networks. Event-related gamma-band activity served to indicate selective attention at the intermediate phenotype level. The main findings were that 5-HTTLPR s allele and TPH2 G-allele homozygotes showed increased induced gamma-band activity during target processing when combined with the NET A/A genotype compared with other genotype combinations, and that gamma activity mediates the genotype-specific effects on task performance. The results further support a modulatory role of 5-HT and NE function in the top-down attentional selection of motivationally relevant over competing or irrelevant sensory input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1205
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • gamma band
  • oscillations
  • genetic variation
  • norepinephrine
  • selective attention
  • serotonin

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