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A deletion variant of the α2b-adrenoceptor is related to emotional memory in Europeans and Africans


Emotionally arousing events are recalled better than neutral events. This phenomenon, which helps us to remember important and potentially vital information, depends on the activation of noradrenergic transmission in the brain. Here we show that a deletion variant of ADRA2B, the gene encoding the α2b-adrenergic receptor, is related to enhanced emotional memory in healthy Swiss subjects and in survivors of the Rwandan civil war who experienced highly aversive emotional situations.

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Figure 1: PCR products from carriers and noncarriers of the deletion were identified by their different sizes (that is, 200 versus 209 base pairs).
Figure 2: Interindividual variability in enhanced memory for emotional information (Swiss sample).
Figure 3: Enhanced memory for emotional information in relation to the deletion variant of the α2b-adrenergic receptor in European and African populations.


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This work was supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation to D.J.-F.d.Q. (PP00B-106708) and A.P. (PP00B-68859), the Helmut-Horten Stiftung (A.P.), the Hermann-Klaus Stiftung (D.J.-F.d.Q.), the EMDO Stiftung (D.J.-F.d.Q.), the Olga Mayenfisch Stiftung (A.P., D.J.-F.d.Q.), the Novartis Foundation for Biomedical Research (A.P.), the German Research Foundation (751) and the vivo foundation (

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D.J.-F.d.Q. and A.P. designed the study, conducted the phenotypic and genetic experiments, and wrote the manuscript. I.T.K., V.E., P.L.O., F.N. and T.E. conducted the phenotypic experiments in the African population and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dominique J-F de Quervain or Andreas Papassotiropoulos.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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de Quervain, DF., Kolassa, IT., Ertl, V. et al. A deletion variant of the α2b-adrenoceptor is related to emotional memory in Europeans and Africans. Nat Neurosci 10, 1137–1139 (2007).

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