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Regional Homogeneity of Resting-State Brain Activity Suppresses the Effect of Dopamine-Related Genes on Sensory Processing Sensitivity


Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is an intrinsic personality trait whose genetic and neural bases have recently been studied. The current study used a neural mediation model to explore whether resting-state brain functions mediated the effects of dopamine-related genes on SPS. 298 healthy Chinese college students (96 males, mean age = 20.42 years, SD = 0.89) were scanned with magnetic resonance imaging during resting state, genotyped for 98 loci within the dopamine system, and administered the Highly Sensitive Person Scale. We extracted a "gene score" that summarized the genetic variations representing the 10 loci that were significantly linked to SPS, and then used path analysis to search for brain regions whose resting-state data would help explain the gene-behavior association. Mediation analysis revealed that temporal homogeneity of regional spontaneous activity (ReHo) in the precuneus actually suppressed the effect of dopamine-related genes on SPS. The path model explained 16% of the variance of SPS. This study represents the first attempt at using a multi-gene voxel-based neural mediation model to explore the complex relations among genes, brain, and personality.

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