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Original Paper

Working Memory Performance Is Associated with Common Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene Polymorphisms

Kumsta R.a · Entringer S.a · Koper J.W.b · van Rossum E.F.C.b · Hellhammer D.H.a · Wüst S.a

Author affiliations

aDepartment of Theoretical and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany; bDepartment of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Neuropsychobiology 2010;61:49–56

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: August 18, 2008
Accepted: July 08, 2009
Published online: November 26, 2009
Issue release date: December 2009

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NPS

Abstract

Cortisol has a modulatory influence on cognitive functions in humans. Both impairing and enhancing effects of cortisol administration have been shown for hippocampus-dependent declarative memory, and impairing effects have been shown for prefrontal-cortex-dependent working memory function. Given the high density of glucocorticoid (GC) receptors in the prefrontal cortex, we investigated whether common polymorphisms of the GC receptor (GR) gene (ER22/23EK, N363S, BclI, 9β A3669G) modulate the influence of cortisol administration on working memory. Working memory performance was investigated in 169 subjects on 10 mg hydrocortisone (cortisol) and placebo using an item recognition task. No impairing effect of hydrocortisone treatment became evident. However, a sex × genotype interaction on general working memory performance was revealed (p = 0.02). While female heterozygous carriers of the 9β G allele displayed faster reaction times than the other genotype groups, 9β G heterozygous men were relatively slower. Heritability estimates for memory are roughly 50%, indicating that common genetic polymorphisms have an important impact on cognitive performance. Our results suggest that variants of the GR gene might explain some of the variance attributable to genetic factors. Furthermore, it can be speculated that they modulate the individual vulnerability for memory impairments related to stress-related psychiatric disorders.

© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: August 18, 2008
Accepted: July 08, 2009
Published online: November 26, 2009
Issue release date: December 2009

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NPS


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