There has been a great deal of interest recently in genetic effects on neurocognitive performance in the healthy
population. KIBRA –a postsynaptic protein from the WWC family of proteins– was identified in 2003 in the human brain
and kidney and has recently been associated with memory performance and synaptic plasticity. Through genome-wide
screening, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was detected in the ninth intron of KIBRA gene (T→ C substitution)
and was implicated in human memory and the underlying neuronal circuitry. This review presents a synopsis of the
current findings on the effects of the KIBRA SNP on human memory and synaptic plasticity. Overall the findings suggest
impaired memory performance and less efficient or impaired hippocampal/medial temporal lobe (MTL) activation in CC
homozygotes (in comparison to T carriers) with some differences between young and older subjects. This review also
highlights limitations and potential sources for variability of studies’ imaging findings along with future perspectives and
implications for the role of KIBRA in memory-related brain systems.
Keywords: Cognition, episodic memory, fMRI, genetic polymorphism, KIBRA, synaptic plasticity.
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