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

Klaus, Kristel, Butler, Kevin, Durrant, Simon J., Ali, Manir, Inglehearn, Chris F., Hodgson, Timothy L., Gutierrez, Humberto and Pennington, Kyla (2017) The effect of COMT Val158Met and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of early life stress. Brain and Behavior, 7 (5). e00695. ISSN 2162-3279

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Depositing User: Leah Maughan
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 10:25
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 10:30
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/13766
ORCID for Kevin Butler: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6219-1012

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