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Serotonin transporter gene and inhibition of conflicting emotional information

Koizumi, Aia b; Kitagawa, Norimichib; Kitamura, Miho S.b c; Kondo, Hirohito M.b; Sato, Takaoa; Kashino, Makiob d e

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833833f0

Genetic variation of the serotonin-transporter-linked promoter region has been reported to be associated with susceptibility to mood disorders. However, little is known about the behavioral characteristics that mediate this genetic variation and susceptibility to depression. We examined whether the serotonin-transporter genotype modulates inhibition of facial expressions and emotional words in the emotional ‘face-word’ Stroop task. Although negative word distractors interfered with the valence identification of positive faces among carriers of two short alleles, positive word distractors interfered with that of negative faces among carriers of one or two long alleles. We discuss a possible role of the reduced inhibitory control over semantic negative information in carriers of two short alleles in the risk of developing depressive mental state.

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aDepartment of Psychology, The University of Tokyo

bNTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Corporation

cDepartment of Pharmacology, Tohoku University School of Medicine

dERATO Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project, JST

eInterdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

Correspondence to Ai Koizumi, Department of Psychology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

Tel: +81 46 240 3596; fax: +81 46 240 4716;e-mail:

Received 14 January 2010 accepted 31 January 2010

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© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.