Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2020; 128(09): 573-581
DOI: 10.1055/a-1065-1786

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Thyroid Hormone Transporter Genes MCT8, MCT10 and Deiodinase DIO2 Contribute to Inter-Individual Variance of Executive Functions and Personality Traits

Jan Christoph Uter
1   Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Ulrike M. Krämer
1   Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
2   Institute of Psychology II, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Ludger Schöls
3   Department of Neurology and Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
4   German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Tübingen, Germany
Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells
5   Cognition and Brain Plasticity Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
6   Department of Cognition, Development and Educational Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
7   Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Anna Göbel
1   Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Marcus Heldmann
1   Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
2   Institute of Psychology II, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Peter Lichtner
8   Institute of Human Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany
Georg Brabant
9   Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Thomas F. Münte
1   Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
2   Institute of Psychology II, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Role of Funding Source Supported by a grant from the DFG (MU3811/16–2) to TFM and GB. The project also benefitted from earlier support by the Volkswagenfoundation to ARF, TFM and LS. The funding source did not influence any stage of this project


Thyroid hormones are modulators of cognitive functions, and changes in hormone levels affect intelligence, memory, attention and executive function. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of transporter proteins MCT8, MCT10 and deiodinase 2 (DIO2) influence thyroid metabolism and could therefore contribute to inter-individual variance of cognitive functions. This study investigates the influence of these SNPs using an extensive neuropsychological test battery. 656 healthy participants aged 18–39 years were genotyped for four SNPs: MCT8 (rs5937843 and rs6647476), MCT10 (rs14399) and DIO2 (rs225014) and underwent eleven different neuropsychological tests as well as four personality questionnaires. Test results were compared between homo- and heterozygous carriers and for the X-linked MCT8 additionally between men and women. Personality questionnaires revealed that Risk Seeking was reduced in homozygous T carriers and highest in homozygous C carriers of the DIO2 SNP and that both polymorphisms of MCT8 had an additive effect on Physical Aggression in men. Neuropsychological testing indicated that MCT10 affects nonverbal reasoning abilities, DIO2 influences working memory and verbal fluency and MCT8 influences attention, alertness and planning. This pilot study suggests an influence of polymorphisms in thyroid hormone transporter genes and deiodinase on cognitive domains and personality traits.

Publication History

Received: 20 April 2019
Received: 19 August 2019

Accepted: 18 November 2019

Article published online:
09 December 2019

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York

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