• Genetic Variation of the Serotonin 2a Receptor Affects Hippocampal Novelty Processing in Humans

      Schott, Bjorn H.; Seidenbecher, Constanze I.; Richter, Sylvia; Wustenberg, Torsten; Debska-Vielhaber, Grazyna; Schubert, Heike; Heinze, Hans-Jochen; Richardson-Klavehn, Alan; Duzel, Emrah; Department of Neurology; et al. (2011-01-18)
      Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is an important neuromodulator in learning and memory processes. A functional genetic polymorphism of the 5-HT 2a receptor (5-HTR2a His452Tyr), which leads to blunted intracellular signaling, has previously been associated with explicit memory performance in several independent cohorts, but the underlying neural mechanisms are thus far unclear. The human hippocampus plays a critical role in memory, particularly in the detection and encoding of novel information. Here we investigated the relationship of 5-HTR2a His452Tyr and hippocampal novelty processing in 41 young, healthy subjects using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants performed a novelty/familiarity task with complex scene stimuli, which was followed by a delayed recognition memory test 24 hours later. Compared to His homozygotes, Tyr carriers exhibited a diminished hippocampal response to novel stimuli and a higher tendency to judge novel stimuli as familiar during delayed recognition. Across the cohort, the false alarm rate during delayed recognition correlated negatively with the hippocampal novelty response. Our results suggest that previously reported effects of 5-HTR2a on explicit memory performance may, at least in part, be mediated by alterations of hippocampal novelty processing.