Conference paper

Alpha7 subunit of the nicotinergic acethylcholine receptor gene (CHRNA7) and perception of coherent motion in aging

Genetic variations of the alpha7 subunit of the nicotinergic acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNA7) are linked to cognitive deficits in aging and schizophrenia. However, little is known about associations of the CHRNA7 gene with aged-related decline in visual perception. In the present study, we tested whether variations in the alpha7 subunit of the nicotinergic acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNA7) interact with the perception of coherent motion in healthy aging. We assessed motion coherence for twenty-five older participants (60-73 years) and twenty-six younger participants (20–27 years) for a left/right motion direction discrimination task. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) [rs2337980] of the CHRNA7 was genotyped. Overall, 25 participants were classified as T/C allele carriers (11 older), and 22 participants were classified as C/C (11 older). Only 3 participants were T/T and therefore, this group was excluded from further analysis. Overall, older adults had higher motion coherence thresholds than younger adults.We did not find any age-related associations of motion direction discrimination with the CHRNA7. However, regardless of age group, participants carrying the T/C genotype performed the task significantly better than C/C carriers. Our results therefore, indicate a strong relationship between the nicotinic system and motion perception.


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