Preliminary evidence that allelic variation in the LMX1A gene influences training related working memory improvement

Institution: Karolinska Institute

Title: Preliminary evidence that allelic variation in the LMX1A gene influences training related working memory improvement

Researcher(s): Bellander M, Brehmer Y, Westerberg H, Karlssona S, Fürtha D, Bergman O, Eriksson E, Bäckman L

Program: Cogmed RM

Published: Neuropsychologia, July 2011

The LMX1A gene impacts the proliferation, differentiation and maintenance of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Bellander et al. investigated how individual differences (ie., allelic variations in single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs)) in the LMX1A gene influence one’s ability to benefit from working memory training. Twenty-nine younger adults (ages 20 -31 years) underwent genetic testing followed by Cogmed training. Although all of the participants improved in working memory measures post-training, individuals with the TT genotype for the rs4657412 SNP evidenced significantly greater gains in verbal working memory. This study underscores the importance of dopamine and dopamine-related genes in modulating the impacts of working memory training.