Effect of dopamine transporter genotype on intrinsic functional connectivity depends on cognitive state.

Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.31). 11/2011; 22(9):2182-96. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhr305
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Functional connectivity between brain regions can define large-scale neural networks and provide information about relationships between those networks. We examined how relationships within and across intrinsic connectivity networks were 1) sensitive to individual differences in dopaminergic function, 2) modulated by cognitive state, and 3) associated with executive behavioral traits. We found that regardless of cognitive state, connections between frontal, parietal, and striatal nodes of Task-Positive networks (TPNs) and Task-Negative networks (TNNs) showed higher functional connectivity in 10/10 homozygotes of the dopamine transporter gene, a polymorphism influencing synaptic dopamine, than in 9/10 heterozygotes. However, performance of a working memory task (a state requiring dopamine release) modulated genotype differences selectively, such that cross-network connectivity between TPNs and TNNs was higher in 10/10 than 9/10 subjects during working memory but not during rest. This increased cross-network connectivity was associated with increased self-reported measures of impulsivity and inattention traits. By linking a gene regulating synaptic dopamine to a phenotype characterized by inefficient executive function, these findings validate cross-network connectivity as an endophenotype of executive dysfunction.

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