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The CACNA1C and ANK3 risk alleles impact on affective personality traits and startle reactivity but not on cognition or gating in healthy males

Authors


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Corresponding author:
Panos Bitsios, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of Crete
P.O. Box 2208
Heraklion 71003, Crete, Greece
Fax: +30 2810 394610
E-mail: pbitsios@med.uoc.gr

Abstract

Roussos P, Giakoumaki SG, Georgakopoulos A, Robakis NK, Bitsios P. The CACNA1C and ANK3 risk alleles impact on affective personality traits and startle reactivity but not on cognition or gating in healthy males.
Bipolar Disord 2011: 13: 250–259. © 2011 The Authors.
Journal compilation © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives:  The rs10994336 ANK3 and rs1006737 CACNA1C genetic variants have recently been identified as the most consistent, genome-wide significant risk factors for bipolar disorder, while the CACNA1C variant has also been associated with schizophrenia and major depression. The aim of this study was to examine the phenotypic consequences of the risk CACNA1C and ANK3 alleles in a large homogeneous cohort of healthy young males.

Methods:  We recruited 703 randomly selected, healthy army conscripts (mean age 22.1 ± 3.0 years) from the first wave of the Learning on Genetics of Schizophrenia project in Heraklion, Crete. Of those recruited, 530 subjects entered and completed the study. Subjects were assessed for prepulse inhibition (PPI), startle reactivity, neuropsychology, and personality.

Results:  UNPHASED analysis revealed that the rs1006737 A-allele was associated with lower extraversion and higher harm avoidance, trait anxiety, and paranoid ideation, while the rs10994336 T-allele was associated with lower novelty seeking and behavioral activation scores (p < 0.01). Both alleles were associated with high startle reactivity (p < 0.05). There were no significant associations with any cognitive task performance or PPI.

Conclusions:  The CACNA1C genotype was associated with proneness to anxiety and negative mood, while the ANK3 genotype was associated with proneness to anhedonia. Both risk genotypes were associated with high startle reactivity, suggesting a role of these polymorphisms in threat/stress signal processing, probably in the hippocampus and/or amygdala. None of the risk genotypes affected sensorimotor gating or behavioral performance in an extensive battery of executive function tests in this cohort of healthy males.

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