The 5-HT2A receptor binding pattern in the human brain is strongly genetically determined

Lars H Pinborg, Haroon Arfan, Steven Haugbol, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Jacob V B Hjelmborg, Claus Svarer, Vibe G Frokjaer, Olaf B Paulson, Soren Holm, Gitte M Knudsen

26 Citations (Scopus)


With the appropriate radiolabeled tracers, positron emission tomography (PET) enables in vivo human brain imaging of markers for neurotransmission, including neurotransmitter synthesis, receptors, and transporters. Whereas structural imaging studies have provided compelling evidence that the human brain anatomy is largely genetically determined, it is currently unknown to what degree neuromodulatory markers are subjected to genetic and environmental influence. Changes in serotonin 2A (5-HT(2A)) receptors have been reported to occur in various neuropsychiatric disorders and an association between 5-HT(2A) receptor gene variants and neuropsychiatric illness susceptibility also exists. In a classical twin design involving 24 healthy male subjects (6 monozygotic twin pairs and 6 dizygotic twin pairs), we examined the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to interindividual variability in cortical 5-HT(2A) receptor binding as measured with [(18)F]altanserin PET imaging. The intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.67 for dizygotic and 0.87 for monozygotic twin pairs. For comparison, the intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.93 in a group of six male healthy subjects examined twice within two weeks with an identical experimental setup. Multivariate analysis was used to separate the phenotypic variance of individuals into additive genetic (heritability) effect (A), shared (family) environment (C), and non-shared (individual-specific) environment (E). Irrespective of whether a full ACE model or a reduced AE model was used to fit the data, the variance due to non-shared environment was below 10% indicating that the contribution of individual specific environmental factors to 5-HT(2A) receptor binding is limited.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1175-80
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Ketanserin
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic


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