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The BclI polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene is associated with emotional memory performance in healthy individuals


Ackermann, Sandra; Heck, Angela; Rasch, Björn; Papassotiropoulos, Andreas; de Quervain, Dominique J-F (2013). The BclI polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene is associated with emotional memory performance in healthy individuals. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(7):1203-1207.

Abstract

Glucocorticoids, stress hormones released from the adrenal cortex, are important players in the regulation of emotional memory. Specifically, in animals and in humans, glucocorticoids enhance memory consolidation of emotionally arousing experiences, but impair memory retrieval. These glucocorticoid actions are partly mediated by glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex, key brain regions for emotional memory. In a recent study in patients who underwent cardiac surgery, the BclI polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) was associated with traumatic memories and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms after intensive care therapy. Based on this finding, we investigated if the BclI polymorphism is also associated with emotional memory in healthy young subjects (N=841). We used a picture-learning task consisting of learning and recalling neutral and emotional photographs on two consecutive days. The BclI variant was associated with short-delay recall of emotional pictures on both days, with GG carriers showing increased emotional memory performance as compared to GC and CC carriers. We did not detect a genotype-dependent difference in recall performance for neutral pictures. These findings suggest that the Bcll polymorphism contributes to inter-individual differences in emotional memory also in healthy humans.

Abstract

Glucocorticoids, stress hormones released from the adrenal cortex, are important players in the regulation of emotional memory. Specifically, in animals and in humans, glucocorticoids enhance memory consolidation of emotionally arousing experiences, but impair memory retrieval. These glucocorticoid actions are partly mediated by glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex, key brain regions for emotional memory. In a recent study in patients who underwent cardiac surgery, the BclI polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) was associated with traumatic memories and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms after intensive care therapy. Based on this finding, we investigated if the BclI polymorphism is also associated with emotional memory in healthy young subjects (N=841). We used a picture-learning task consisting of learning and recalling neutral and emotional photographs on two consecutive days. The BclI variant was associated with short-delay recall of emotional pictures on both days, with GG carriers showing increased emotional memory performance as compared to GC and CC carriers. We did not detect a genotype-dependent difference in recall performance for neutral pictures. These findings suggest that the Bcll polymorphism contributes to inter-individual differences in emotional memory also in healthy humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:31 Jan 2014 10:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:34
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.10.009
PubMed ID:23148886

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