LMX1A is a transcription factor involved in the development of dopamine (DA)-producing neurons in midbrain. Previous research has shown that allelic variations in three LMX1A single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were related to risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting that these SNPs may influence the number of mesencephalic DA neurons. Prompted by the established link between striatal DA functions and working memory (WM) performance, we examined two of these SNPs in relation to the ability to benefit from 4 weeks of WM training. One SNP (rs4657412) was strongly associated with the magnitude of training-related gains in verbal WM. The allele linked to larger gains has previously been suggested to be associated with higher dopaminergic nerve cell density. No differential gains of either SNP were observed for spatial WM, and the genotype groups were also indistinguishable in tests of attention, interference control, episodic memory, perceptual speed, and reasoning for both SNPs. This pattern of data is in agreement with previous findings from our group, suggesting that cognitive effects of DA-related genes may be more easily detected in a training context than for single-assessment performance scores.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|