Researchers aimed to investigate how genetic variants related to the cholinergic system are associated with theta band event-related oscillations (EROs) in the brains of adolescents and young adults. The researchers analyzed data from 2,140 participants aged 12 to 25 who took part in the COGA prospective study. Theta band EROs were measured using EEG recordings during visual and auditory oddball tasks, which involved detecting specific targets. The associations between cholinergic genetic variants (specifically from genes CHRM2, CHRNA3, CHRNA5, and CHRNB4) and theta band EROs were found to vary depending on age, sex, task modality, and the specific brain region being analyzed. Among the studied genetic variants, seven had significant effects on theta band EROs, and these effects varied across different age ranges and combinations of sex and task modality. Interestingly, the study found that associations with nicotinic receptors were stronger before the age of 18, while associations with muscarinic receptors were stronger after the age of 18. These results shed light on the dynamic nature of genetic effects on brain development, highlighting the intricate interplay between cholinergic genes and neural oscillations throughout adolescence and young adulthood.
Chorlian DB, Meyers JL, Manz N, Zhang J, Kamarajan C, Pandey A, Wang JC, Plawecki M, Edenberg H, Goate A, Tischfield J, Porjesz B (2023) Genetic influences vary by age and sex: Trajectories of the association of cholinergic system variants and theta band event related oscillations. bioRxiv. PMID: 36909650; PMCID: PMC10002625; DOI: 10.1101/2023.02.27.530318.