A deficit in sensory gating measured by the suppression of P50 auditory event-related potential (ERP) has been implicated in the biological bases of schizophrenia and some other psychiatric disorders and proposed as a candidate endophenotype for genetic studies. More recently, it has been shown that gating deficits in schizophrenics extend to ERP components reflecting early attentive processing (the N1/P2 complex). However, evidence for heritability of sensory gating in the general population is very limited. Heritability of P50, N1, and P2 amplitudes and gating was estimated in 54 monozygotic and 55 dizygotic twin pairs using a dual-click auditory paradigm. Genetic model-fitting analysis showed high heritability of peak amplitudes of P50, N1, and P2 waves. Genetic influences on P50 gating (S2/S1) were modest, while heritability of N1 and P2 gating was high and significant. The alternative gating measure (S1-S2 difference) showed significant heritability for all three ERP components. Weak genetic influences on P50 gating ratio can be related to its poor test-retest reliability demonstrated in previous studies. These results suggest that gating measures derived from the N1/P2 wave complex may be useful endophenotypes for population-based genetic studies of the sensory gating function and its impairments in psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Auditory evoked potentials
  • Heritability
  • N100
  • P50
  • Sensory gating
  • Twins


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