Scripties UMCG - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
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De invloed van oxytocine- en serotonine genen op informatieverwerkingsvaardigheden die een rol spelen bij de sociale interactie

(2012) Pluijm, S. (Sanne) van der

The role of oxytocin and serotonin in the social cognition is described in many studies. In addition, associations between the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) polymorphisms and social cognition were found. Also there is a suggested role of serotonin in the executive processes of cognitive flexibility and working memory. All these four (social) cognitive processes are well known deficiencies in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study examines three oxytocin ‘single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)’ and nine serotonin polymorphisms in association with these cognitive processes en ASD. Because both ASD problems and social cognitive functioning has been found to differ for boys and girls the study takes into account sex differential influences of the polymorphisms investigated.
The sample consisted of Dutch pre-adolescents in the age range of 10 to 12 years, who were participating in the Tracking Adolescents’ Lives Survey (TRAILS), an ongoing cohort study (n=1260). The participants completed four cognitive tasks, which measured cognitive flexibility, working memory, facial recognition and emotion recognition. They also completed a questionnaire to determine the degree of ASD problems. The influence of the polymorphisms on the cognitive processes and the degree of ASD problems, as the interaction with sex, was analyzed with univariate analysis.
Results OXTR SNP rs237897 and rs237889 showed an association in which the AA genotype showed an improvement in cognitive flexibility in comparison to the GG genotype. Also OXTR SNP rs237889 showed that girls with the GG genotype had less social related problems. In contrast, boys with the GG genotype had more social (ASD related) problems. In the recognition of disgust, SNP rs237897 showed an interaction with sex. Boys with the AA genotype were associated with better recognition of disgust in comparison to boys with the GG genotype.
The serotonin transporter SNPs rs2066713 and rs2020942 showed several associations with emotion recognition. In the recognition of different negative emotions the AG genotype showed a reduced recognition in comparison to the GG (and sometimes AA) genotype. The serotonin receptor 1A SNPs, rs878567 and rs6295, showed a better recognition of disgust of the AG genotype in comparison to the GG genotype.
There are several findings that suggest a role of oxytocin en serotonin genes in ASS related problems. Oxytocin polymorphisms influence cognitive flexibility and serotonin transporter polymorphisms influence the recognition of negative emotions. Also, both oxytocin and serotonin polymorphisms show sex differential expressions.

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