Cortical Dopamine Transmission as Measured with the [11C]FLB 457 - Amphetamine PET Imaging Paradigm Is Not Influenced by COMT Genotype.
ABSTRACT: Basic investigations link a Val158Met polymorphism (rs4680) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene to not only its enzymatic activity, but also to its dopaminergic tone in the prefrontal cortex. Previous PET studies have documented the relationship between COMT Val158Met polymorphism and D1 and D2/3 receptor binding potential (BP), and interpreted them in terms of dopaminergic tone. The use of baseline dopamine D1 and D2/3 receptor binding potential (BPND) as a proxy for dopaminergic tone is problematic because they reflect both endogenous dopamine levels (a change in radiotracer's apparent affinity) and receptor density. In this analysis of 31 healthy controls genotyped for the Val158Met polymorphism (Val/Val, Val/Met, and Met/Met), we used amphetamine-induced displacement of [11C]FLB 457 as a direct measure of dopamine release. Our analysis failed to show a relationship between COMT genotype status and prefrontal cortical dopamine release. COMT genotype was also not predictive of baseline dopamine D2/3 receptor BPND.
Project description:The relationship between dopamine (DA) tone in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and PFC-dependent cognitive functions (for example, working memory, selective attention, executive function) may be described by an inverted-U-shaped function, in which both excessively high and low DA is associated with impairment. In the PFC, the COMT val158met single nucleotide polymorphism (rs4680) confers differences in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) efficacy and DA tone, and individuals homozygous for the val allele display significantly reduced cortical DA. Many studies have investigated whether val158met genotype moderates the effects of dopaminergic drugs on PFC-dependent cognitive functions. A review of 25 such studies suggests evidence for this pharmacogenetic effect is mixed for stimulants and COMT inhibitors, which have greater effects on D1 receptors, and strong for antipsychotics, which have greater effects on D2 receptors. Overall, COMT val158met genotype represents an enticing target for identifying individuals who are more likely to respond positively to dopaminergic drugs.
Project description:Whether to continue to exploit a source of reward, or to search for a new one of potentially greater value, is a fundamental and underconstrained decision. Recent computational studies of this exploration-exploitation tradeoff have found that variability in exploration across individuals is influenced by a functional polymorphism (Val158Met) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, whose protein product degrades synaptically released dopamine. However, these and other genotype-phenotype associations have rarely been causally tested. To directly test this association and to evaluate additional behavioral characteristics, including perceived locus of control (LOC), here we used the COMT inhibitor tolcapone in a randomized, double-blind, counterbalanced, within-subject study of 66 subjects genotyped for the Val158Met allele to assess the hypothesis that reducing COMT enzymatic activity interacts with genotype to increase uncertainty-driven exploration. In keeping with our initial hypothesis, tolcapone led to an increase in exploratory, but not exploitative, behavior in Met/Met rather than Val/Val subjects. Independent of genotype, those subjects with a more external LOC also showed increases in uncertainty-driven exploration on tolcapone relative to placebo. However, we did not replicate our previous finding that Met/Met subjects show greater exploration at baseline. Together these findings support a model in which exploration is hypothesized to have a dopaminergic basis. Moreover, in keeping with findings in other behavioral and cognitive domains, the response to an increase in presumptively frontal dopamine is dependent upon baseline dopamine tone.
Project description:Math anxiety (MA) is a phobic reaction to math activities, potentially impairing math achievement. Higher frequency of MA in females is explainable by the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. The molecular-genetic basis of MA has not been investigated. The COMT Val158Met polymorphism, which affects dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex, has been associated with anxiety manifestations. The valine allele is associated with lower, and the methionine allele with higher, dopamine availability. In the present study, the effects of sex and COMT Val158Met genotypes on MA were investigated: 389 school children aged 7-12 years were assessed for intelligence, numerical estimation, arithmetic achievement and MA and genotyped for COMT Val158Met polymorphism. The Math Anxiety Questionnaire (MAQ) was used to assess the cognitive and affective components of MA. All genotype groups of boys and girls were comparable regarding genotype frequency, age, school grade, numerical estimation, and arithmetic abilities. We compared the results of all possible genetic models: codominance (Val/Val vs. Val/Met vs. Met/Met), heterosis (Val/Met vs. Val/Val plus Met/Met), valine dominance (Val/Val plus Val/Met vs. Met/Met), and methionine dominance (Met/Met plus Val/Met vs. Val/Val). Models were compared using AIC and AIC weights. No significant differences between girls and boys and no effects of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on numerical estimation and arithmetic achievement were observed. Sex by genotype effects were significant for intelligence and MA. Intelligence scores were higher in Met/Met girls than in girls with at least one valine allele (valine dominance model). The best fitting model for MA was heterosis. In Anxiety Toward Mathematics, heterozygous individuals presented MA levels close to the grand average regardless of sex. Homozygous boys were significantly less and homozygous girls significantly more math anxious. Heterosis has been seldom explored, but in recent years has emerged as the best genetic model for some phenotypes associated with the COMT Val158Met polymorphism. This is the first study to investigate the genetic-molecular basis of MA.
Project description:The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) val158met polymorphism affects the breakdown of synaptic dopamine. Consequently, this polymorphism has been associated with a variety of neurophysiological and behavioral outcomes. Some of the effects have been found to be sex-specific and it appears estrogen may act to down-regulate the activity of the COMT enzyme. The dopaminergic system has been implicated in face recognition, a form of cognition for which a female advantage has typically been reported. This study aimed to investigate potential joint effects of sex and COMT genotype on face recognition. A sample of 142 university students was genotyped and assessed using the Faces I subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Third Edition (WMS-III). A significant two-way interaction between sex and COMT genotype on face recognition performance was found. Of the male participants, COMT val homozygotes and heterozygotes had significantly lower scores than met homozygotes. Scores did not differ between genotypes for female participants. While male val homozygotes had significantly lower scores than female val homozygotes, no sex differences were observed in the heterozygotes and met homozygotes. This study contributes to the accumulating literature documenting sex-specific effects of the COMT polymorphism by demonstrating a COMT-sex interaction for face recognition, and is consistent with a role for dopamine in face recognition.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Impulsivity is a multidimensional construct which has been associated with dopaminergic neurotransmission. Nonetheless, until this moment, few studies addressed the relationship between different types of impulsivity and the single nucleotide polymorphism caused by a substitution of valine (val) with methionine (met) in the 158 codon of the Catechol-o-Methyltransferase gene (COMT-val158met). The present study aimed to investigate the association between val158met COMT polymorphism and impulsive behavior measured by two neuropsychological tests. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We administered two neuropsychological tests, a Continuous Performance Task and the Iowa Gambling Task were applied to 195 healthy participants to characterize their levels of motor, attentional and non-planning impulsivity. Then, subjects were grouped by genotype, and their scores on impulsivity measures were compared. There were no significant differences between group scores on attentional and motor impulsivity. Those participants who were homozygous for the met allele performed worse in the Iowa Gambling Task than val/val and val/met subjects. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that met allele of val158met COMT polymorphism is associated with poor performance in decision-making/cognitive impulsivity task. The results reinforce the hypothesis that val and met alleles of the val158met polymorphism show functional dissociation and are related to different prefrontal processes.
Project description:Individuals learn new skills at different rates. Given the involvement of corticostriatal pathways in some types of learning, variations in dopaminergic transmission may contribute to these individual differences. Genetic polymorphisms of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme and dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) genes partially determine cortical and striatal dopamine availability, respectively. Individuals who are homozygous for the COMT methionine (met) allele show reduced cortical COMT enzymatic activity, resulting in increased dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex as opposed to individuals who are carriers of the valine (val) allele. DRD2 G-allele homozygotes benefit from a higher striatal dopamine level compared with T-allele carriers. We hypothesized that individuals who are homozygous for COMT met and DRD2 G alleles would show higher rates of motor learning. Seventy-two young healthy females (20 ± 1.9 yr) performed a sensorimotor adaptation task and a motor sequence learning task. A nonparametric mixed model ANOVA revealed that the COMT val-val group demonstrated poorer performance in the sequence learning task compared with the met-met group and showed a learning deficit in the visuomotor adaptation task compared with both met-met and val-met groups. The DRD2 TT group showed poorer performance in the sequence learning task compared with the GT group, but there was no difference between DRD2 genotype groups in adaptation rate. Although these results did not entirely come out as one might predict based on the known contribution of corticostriatal pathways to motor sequence learning, they support the role of genetic polymorphisms of COMT val158met (rs4680) and DRD2 G>T (rs 1076560) in explaining individual differences in motor performance and motor learning, dependent on task type.
Project description:The catechol-O-methyltranferase (COMT) is one of the main enzymes that metabolise dopamine in the brain. The Val158Met polymorphism in the COMT gene (rs4680) causes a trimodal distribution of high (Val/Val), intermediate (Val/Met) and low (Met/Met) enzyme activity. We tested whether the Val158Met polymorphism is a modifier of the age at onset (AAO) in Parkinson's disease (PD). The rs4680 was genotyped in a total of 16 609 subjects from five independent cohorts of European and North American origin (5886 patients with PD and 10 723 healthy controls). The multivariate analysis for comparing PD and control groups was based on a stepwise logistic regression, with gender, age and cohort origin included in the initial model. The multivariate analysis of the AAO was a mixed linear model, with COMT genotype and gender considered as fixed effects and cohort and cohort-gender interaction as random effects. COMT genotype was coded as a quantitative variable, assuming a codominant genetic effect. The distribution of the COMT polymorphism was not significantly different in patients and controls (p=0.22). The Val allele had a significant effect on the AAO with a younger AAO in patients with the Val/Val (57.1±13.9, p=0.03) than the Val/Met (57.4±13.9) and the Met/Met genotypes (58.3±13.5). The difference was greater in men (1.9 years between Val/Val and Met/Met, p=0.007) than in women (0.2 years, p=0.81). Thus, the Val158Met COMT polymorphism is not associated with PD in the Caucasian population but acts as a modifier of the AAO in PD with a sexual dimorphism: the Val allele is associated with a younger AAO in men with idiopathic PD.
Project description:The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme plays a crucial role in dopamine degradation, and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism (rs4680) is associated with significant differences in enzymatic activity and consequently dopamine concentrations in the prefrontal cortex. Multiple studies have analyzed the COMT Val158Met variant in relation to antipsychotic response. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis examining the relationship between COMT Val158Met and antipsychotic response.Searches using PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycInfo databases (03/01/2015) yielded 23 studies investigating COMT Val158Met variation and antipsychotic response in schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder. Responders/nonresponders were defined using each study's original criteria. If no binary response definition was used, authors were asked to define response according to at least 30% Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale score reduction (or equivalent in other scales). Analysis was conducted under a fixed-effects model.Ten studies met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. Five additional antipsychotic-treated samples were analyzed for Val158Met and response and included in the meta-analysis (ntotal=1416). Met/Met individuals were significantly more likely to respond than Val-carriers (P=.039, ORMet/Met=1.37, 95% CI: 1.02-1.85). Met/Met patients also experienced significantly greater improvement in positive symptoms relative to Val-carriers (P=.030, SMD=0.24, 95% CI: 0.024-0.46). Posthoc analyses on patients treated with atypical antipsychotics (n=1207) showed that Met/Met patients were significantly more likely to respond relative to Val-carriers (P=.0098, ORMet/Met=1.54, 95% CI: 1.11-2.14), while no difference was observed for typical-antipsychotic-treated patients (n=155) (P=.65).Our findings suggest that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism is associated with response to antipsychotics in schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder patients. This effect may be more pronounced for atypical antipsychotics.
Project description:Tolcapone, a brain penetrant selective inhibitor of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) devoid of psychostimulant properties, improves cognition and cortical information processing in rested volunteers, depending on the genotype of the functional Val158Met polymorphism of COMT. The impact of this common genetic variant on behavioral and neurophysiological markers of increased sleep need after sleep loss is controversial. Here we investigated the potential usefulness of tolcapone to mitigate consequences of sleep deprivation on lapses of sustained attention, and tested the hypothesis that dopamine signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) causally contributes to neurobehavioral and neurophysiological markers of sleep homeostasis in humans. We first quantified in 73 young male volunteers the impact of COMT genotype on the evolution of attentional lapses during 40?h of extended wakefulness. Subsequently, we tested in an independent group of 30 young men whether selective inhibition of COMT activity with tolcapone counteracts attentional and neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need in a genotype-dependent manner. Neither COMT genotype nor tolcapone affected brain electrical activity in wakefulness and sleep. By contrast, COMT genotype and tolcapone modulated the sleep loss-induced impairment of vigilant attention. More specifically, Val/Met heterozygotes produced twice as many lapses after a night without sleep than Met/Met homozygotes. Unexpectedly, tolcapone further deteriorated the sleep loss-induced performance deficits when compared to placebo, particularly in Val/Met and Met/Met genotypes. The findings suggest that PFC dopaminergic tone regulates sustained attention after sleep loss according to an inverse U-shape relationship, independently of neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The neurobiology of alcohol dependence (AD) involves alterations in neurotransmitters and the stress response. We hypothesized that an interaction between functional variants of dopaminergic and neurotrophic genes may influence drinking in AD. METHODS:The relationship between alcohol consumption and single-nucleotide polymorphisms, Val66Met in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and Val158Met in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), was analyzed among 281 alcohol-dependent individuals. RESULTS:Individuals carrying both the COMT Met158Met genotype and the BDNF Val66Val genotype drank more than those with other variants of these genes (P = 0.039). Those who had a family history of AD also drank more than those without a family history (P = 0.048). Patients with both Met/Met genotype in the COMT Val158Met polymorphism and Val/Val genotype in the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism suffered from more health problems than those carrying other variants (P = 0.030) and had lower motivation to change drinking patterns (P = 0.031). CONCLUSIONS:Patients carrying both the BDNF Val66Val and COMT Met158Met variants had higher alcohol consumption. These effects may be influenced by the effects of BDNF and COMT on dopamine responses to alcohol. Motivation-enhancing strategies might benefit the group of patients identified by genotyping in this study, and also treatment aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.