- We recently reported an association between the long repeat allele of the dopamine D4 exon III receptor polymorphism and a human personality dimension, novelty seeking, as measured by the tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ), a personality instrument designed by Cloninger to reflect heritable facets of human temperament. The D4 receptor polymorphism (D4DR) accounts for only a small percent of the variance for this trait, suggesting that additional genes influence both novelty seeking as well as the other temperaments that are inventoried by the Cloninger TPQ. In the current investigation, we examined, in the original cohort of 120 normal volunteers, two additional coding region polymorphisms, a glycine to serine substitution in the dopamine D3 receptor (D3DR) and a cysteine to serine substitution in the 5-HT2C serotonin receptor (HTR2C). Three-way analysis of variance (TPQ score grouped by D4DR, D3DR and 5-HT2C) demonstrated that reward dependence and persistence scores were significantly reduced by the presence of the less common 5-HT2Cser polymorphism. The effect of the serine substitution in this X-linked serotonin receptor polymorphism on reward dependence was also observed when male and female subject groups were separately analyzed. There was also a significant interaction between the two dopamine receptor polymorphisms and the serotonin polymorphism on reward dependence. In particular, the effect of the 5-HT2C polymorphism on reward dependence was markedly accentuated in individuals who had the long version of the D4DR exon III repeat polymorphism. When present in the same individual, the 5-HT2C and dopamine receptor polymorphisms account for 30% of the observed variance for persistence (RD2) and 13% of the variance for reward dependence scores (RD134). However, the number of subjects with both less common D4DR and 5-HT2C polymorphisms is small, underscoring the importance of verifying this interaction in a larger cohort.