Relationship between dopamine system genes and extraversion and novelty seeking

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Dopamine transmission is known to play an important role in the reinforcement system of the brain. Studies have identified dopamine system genes whose polymorphic variants have been linked with the intensity of psychological traits reflecting the tendency to form behaviors characterized by impulsivity and the need for additional stimulation. The aim of the present work was to seek associations between polymorphisms in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4) genes and personality traits in the Russian population. Studies of 130 subjects showed that carriers of the Met/Met genotype of the COMT gene had a greater intensity of the novelty-seeking trait than carriers of the Val/Val and Val/Met genotypes, though this association was seen only in women. In addition, the presence of the C allele of the DRD4 gene in carriers of the Met/Met genotype showed high levels of extraversion and hypomania. These results are consistent with current theoretical concepts of the regulation of dopamine transmission in the brain.

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