Dopamine modulates attentional control of auditory perception: DARPP-32 (PPP1R1B) genotype effects on behavior and cortical evoked potentials

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Using a specific variant of the dichotic listening paradigm, we studied the influence of dopamine on attentional modulation of auditory perception by assessing effects of allelic variation of a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs907094 in the DARPP-32 gene (dopamine and adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein 32 kilodations; also known as PPP1R1B) on behavior and cortical evoked potentials. A frequent DARPP-32 haplotype that includes the A allele of this SNP is associated with higher mRNA expression of DARPP-32 protein isoforms, striatal dopamine receptor function, and frontal–striatal connectivity. As we hypothesized, behaviorally the A homozygotes were more flexible in selectively attending to auditory inputs than any G carriers. Moreover, this genotype also affected auditory evoked cortical potentials that reflect early sensory and late attentional processes. Specifically, analyses of event-related potentials (ERPs) revealed that amplitudes of an early component of sensory selection (N1) and a late component (N450) reflecting attentional deployment for conflict resolution were larger in A homozygotes than in any G carriers. Taken together, our data lend support for dopamine's role in modulating auditory attention both during the early sensory selection and late conflict resolution stages.

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