Dopamine DRD2/ANKK1 Taq1A and DAT1 VNTR polymorphisms are associated with a cognitive flexibility profile in pathological gamblers

Ana B. Fagundo, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Rafael De La Torre, Antonio Verdejo-García, Roser Granero, Eva Penelo, Manel Gené, Carme Barrot, Cristina Sánchez, Eva Alvarez-Moya, Cristian Ochoa, Maria Neus Aymamí, Mónica Gómez-Peña, Jose M. Menchón, Susana Jiménez-Murcia

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23 Citations (Scopus)


© The Author(s) 2014. Like drug addiction, pathological gambling (PG) has been associated with impairments in executive functions and alterations in dopaminergic functioning; however, the role of dopamine (DA) in the executive profile of PG remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify whether the DRD2/ANKK1 Taq1A-rs1800497 and the DAT1-40 bp VNTR polymorphisms are associated with cognitive flexibility (measured by Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and Trail Making Test (TMT)) and inhibition response (measured by Stroop Color and Word Test (SCWT)), in a clinical sample of 69 PG patients. Our results showed an association between DA functioning and cognitive flexibility performance. The Taq1A A1+ (A1A2/A1A1) genotype was associated with poorer TMT performance (p < 0.05), while DAT1 9-repeat homozygotes displayed better WCST performance (p < 0.05) than either 10-repeat homozygotes or heterozygotes. We did not find any association between the DRD2 or DAT1 polymorphisms and the inhibition response. These results suggested that pathological gamblers with genetic predispositions toward lower availability of DA and D2 receptor density are at a higher risk of cognitive flexibility difficulties. Future studies should aim to shed more light on the genetic mechanisms underlying the executive profile in PG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1177
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2014


  • Addiction
  • cognition
  • cognitive flexibility
  • dopamine
  • dopamine receptor
  • dopamine transport
  • executive functions
  • gambling
  • genetics
  • inhibition response
  • pathological gambling
  • polymorphism


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