Inhibition of Attention for Affective Material: Contributions by HOMER1 Gene Variation

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Abstract

Failure to inhibit attention to irrelevant affective information has been linked to depression and rumination. However, few studies have investigated the biological bases of this process. Variation in the HOMER1 gene was identified in a genome-wide association study as associated with major depressive disorder and with executive functioning inefficiency. Several studies have linked variation in the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene with emotional and cognitive processes such as rumination. The current study examined the association between these 2 auspicious genetic variants and inhibition of attention for affective information. In Study 1, 60 psychiatrically healthy community participants completed a negative affective priming task with positive and negative words. HOMER1 variation, but not BDNF variation, was associated with difficulty inhibiting irrelevant negative information. These results were replicated in a second study utilizing a sample of 97 psychiatrically healthy young adults. Implications for the current literature and future directions are discussed.

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