The effect of COMT Val158Met and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of early life stress

Klaus, K. and Butler, K. and Durrant, S. J. and Ali, M. and Inglehearn, C. F. and Hodgson, T. L. and Gutierrez, H. and Pennington, K. (2017) The effect of COMT Val158Met and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of early life stress. Brain and Behavior, e00695 . ISSN 2162-3279

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.695

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Abstract

Abstract
Introduction: Previous research has indicated that variation in genes encoding
catechol-O-
methyltransferase
(COMT) and dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) may influence
cognitive function and that this may confer vulnerability to the development of
mental health disorders such as schizophrenia. However, increasing evidence suggests
environmental factors such as early life stress may interact with genetic variants in
affecting these cognitive outcomes. This study investigated the effect of COMT
Val158Met and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of
early life stress in healthy adults.
Methods: One hundred and twenty-two
healthy adult males (mean age 35.2 years,
range 21–63) were enrolled in the study. Cognitive function was assessed using
Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery and early life stress was assessed
using the Childhood Traumatic Events Scale (Pennebaker & Susman, 1988).
Results: DRD2 C957T was significantly associated with executive function, with CC
homozygotes having significantly reduced performance in spatial working memory
and spatial planning. A significant genotype–trauma interaction was found in Rapid
Visual Information Processing test, a measure of sustained attention, with CC carriers
who had experienced early life stress exhibiting impaired performance compared to
the CC carriers without early life stressful experiences. There were no significant findings
for COMT Val158Met.
Conclusions: This study supports previous findings that DRD2 C957T significantly affects
performance on executive function related tasks in healthy individuals and shows
for the first time that some of these effects may be mediated through the impact of
childhood traumatic events. Future work should aim to clarify further the effect of
stress on neuronal systems that are known to be vulnerable in mental health disorders
and more specifically what the impact of this might be on cognitive function.

Keywords:C957T polymorphism, catechol-O-methyltransferase, childhood trauma, COMT, dopamine
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:27031
Deposited On:24 Apr 2017 09:21

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