A genome-wide supported variant in CACNA1C influences hippocampal activation during episodic memory encoding and retrieval

Axel Krug, Stephanie H. Witt, Heidelore Backes, Bruno Dietsche, Vanessa Nieratschker, N. Jon Shah, Markus M. Nothen, Marcella Rietschel, Tilo Kircher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The alpha 1C subunit of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (CACNA1C) gene is one of the best replicated susceptibility loci for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression. It is involved in learning, memory and brain plasticity. Genetic studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) reported evidence of association with the CACNA1C single nucleotide polymorphism rs1006737 with functional correlates of episodic memory encoding and retrieval, especially activations in the hippocampus. These results, however, are inconsistent with regard to the magnitude and directionality of effect. In the present study, brain activation was measured with fMRI during an episodic memory encoding and retrieval task using neutral faces in two independent samples of 94 and 111 healthy subjects, respectively. Within whole brain analyses, a main effect of genotype emerged mainly in the right hippocampus during encoding as well as retrieval within the first sample: Carriers of the minor allele (A) exhibited lower activations compared to G/G allele carriers. This effect could be replicated within the second sample, however, only for the retrieval condition. The results strengthen findings that rs1006737 is associated with neural systems related to memory processes in hippocampal regions which are detectable in healthy subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Cite this